BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
VENDORS have said that they cannot afford to fund Zanu PF’s 2023 election campaign as they were struggling to fend for their families due to an unstable economy and recurrent lockdowns.
This was after Zanu PF acting national commissar Patrick Chinamasa last week announced that the party was targeting vendors, small-scale miners and farmers to raise $140 million to support its 2023 campaign.
A party resource mobilisation committee led by businessman Philip Chiyangwa was recently appointed.
But vendors’ representatives, who spoke to NewsDay, said their members were in financial distress due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent demolition of their stalls which disrupted their operations.
Zimbabwe Informal Sectors Organisation executive director Promise Mkwananzi said: “Vendors are free to join any political party of their choice and they can even choose to subscribe to financially support that party. But they must not be forced. I am not sure which vendors Zanu PF wants the funding from. Barely a month ago, the Zanu PF government ventured into a clean-up exercise and destroyed the livelihoods of people.”
He said this resulted in homelessness, starvation and failure of vendors to run businesses.
“Zanu PF cannot win the vote of the people through demanding cash. Rather, it should formalise their (vendors) trade. With complete satisfaction of adequate service delivery, the vote of the vendors is guaranteed,” he said.
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation executive director Samuel Wadzai said vendors should not be forced to contribute to Zanu PF’s electoral campaign.
“A vendor cannot be stopped from funding political parties, but it must be voluntary compliance. However, the request for funding will be difficult especially during the pandemic. Vendors are not earning. They are struggling to put food on the table, let alone provide other basics for their families. Therefore, whichever political party is seeking financial assistance from the vendors should be at peace with their failure to meet their expectations. No force should be used.”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said Zanu PF’s strategy to mobilise funds from low-income earners was aimed at instilling fear and coercing them to vote for it in the 2023 elections.
“It’s not the first time the ruling party has sought to raise funds from vulnerable economic groups. Its target is not to raise funds, but to coerce people to vote for them. The low-income earners know very well the consequences of failing to comply with the ruling party directive. Who wants to risk losing their farms, mining claims or vendors’ stalls as punishment for refusing to comply with the directive?” he asked.
Zanu PF is targeting five million votes to win the upcoming elections.