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Zimbabwean political parties gear up for election season, Zanu PF buys its candidates 4x4s

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News24


  • Zanu PF’s candidates are attending a winter school ahead of embarking on nationwide campaigns.
  • CCC is yet to finalise its “water tight” candidate selection process.
  • DUZ is urging like minded political parties to form coalitions.

Zanu PF is holding a winter school for its heavily pampered election candidates, while the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is still in the process of selecting candidates ahead of the 23 August general elections.

Zanu PF’s 210 parliamentary candidates are gathered for a week-long workshop on national ideology and mobilisation in the Midlands province city of Gweru.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the election candidates during the closed-door engagement, where he laid out his party’s agenda ahead of the elections.

Talking to journalists, Zanu PF’s Political Commissar, Mike Bimha, said the president took into account that there were new faces representing the party and that they needed guidance.

He said:

We have a number of new faces who are coming into parliament, but they must always go back to the people they represent; the party comes first and we are discussing issues to do with loyalty and issues to do with dedication.

 

Zanu PF has funds allocated to the country’s 10 provinces to help candidates during campaign season.

They were also each given brand new off-road vehicles that range from Toyota Hilux GD6s to Ford Rangers and Nissan Navaras.

For one to register as an election candidate, they have to pay about R19 000 (US$1 000), and Zanu PF is footing the bill for its 210 candidates.

This will amount to more than R3.99 million ($210 000).

The CCC has yet to make its candidate list public amid concerns that some stalwarts were rejected by the party’s leadership during the vetting exercise.

In a tweet, party leader Nelson Chamisa said this time around the party would not endorse candidates who are “diggers and dealers”.

He added that the party would not go with people seeking selfish interests.

“Whoever is after self-gain or self-care will not serve… Whoever uses money and trinkets to buy citizens or bribe voters can’t serve,” he said.

One of the party’s foremost leaders, Job Sikhala remains in prison and will clock a year on June 14.

Fringe party Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) suffered a setback on Tuesday when the courts reserved judgment in a case where party leader Jacob Ngarivhume was sentenced and jailed for four years for “inciting violence”.

That means Ngarivhume will miss the general elections if his freedom bid fails.

His lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said Ngarivhume was prepared to pay ZW$500 000 (R2 586) bail.

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Newcomer Robert Chapman of the Democratic Union of Zimbabwe (DUZ) said the upcoming polls will not be free and fair, accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of being pro-Zanu PF.

“We know that ZEC is not free and fair, we know that ZEC is captured,” Chapman told a press conference in Harare on Tuesday.

Chapman also suggested that to beat Zanu PF, political parties should form a grand coalition.

He said:

The opportunity to create coalitions is crucial if our ideologies align.

 

However, he noted that creating a coalition was not going to be simple and straightforward because of seasoned politicians.

“There are career politicians inside these conversations and their concerns are what would happen to them,” he added.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Douglas Mwonzora also argued that the elections would not be free and fair after the party’s failed court bid to delay the polls.

“We are not ready for elections, Zimbabweans and political parties should work together to avoid regretting this election,” said Chengetai Guta, the party’s director of information, during a Twitter space hosted by the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) last week.

The 2018 general elections had 23 presidential candidates.

The candidates are likely to be fewer this year after ZEC announced that a presidential candidate should pay an R380 000 ($20 000) candidature fee.