Source: ZANU-PF gears for 2018 polls | The Financial Gazette December 15, 2016
THE ruling party has splurged about US$20 million on all-terrain vehicles as it prepares for the 2018 polls in which the incumbent will be seeking an eighth term as President.
At the 2018 plebiscite, President Robert Mugabe is likely to face his long-time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is currently battling cancer of the colon.
Joice Mujuru, his former deputy, has also signalled her intentions to take-on the ZANU-PF leader, following her dismissal from the governing party in 2014.
There is a possibility of a coalition of major opposition parties in Zimbabwe emerging before the harmonised elections, which would require President Mugabe to pull every trick in the book to extend his leadership beyond the seventh term.
ZANU-PF is therefore leaving no stone unturned in its quest to retain power.
The party has dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene ever since its attainment of majority rule in 1980.
Yesterday, the party took delivery of 45 top-of-the-range Ford Ranger vehicles, and a bus, to be used in mobilising support for ZANU-PF. All in all 365 vehicles will be delivered to the party soon
On average a single-cab Ford Ranger costs about US$45 000.
Party insiders revealed that the vehicles would be deployed into the 10 political provinces for use in drumming up support for ZANU-PF. On top of the list of beneficiaries are provincial chairpersons as well as other high-ranking officials in the youth and women’s leagues.
About 20 000 litres of fuel has been set aside for the vehicles.
The party has been riven by factionalism over President Mugabe’s succession, which has left it vulnerable.
Much of the damage was inflicted on the party after it expelled Mujuru for plotting to unseat President Mugabe, unconstitutionally.
More than 200 officials lost their positions in the party either through suspensions or expulsions for hobnobbing with the former vice president, who had been President Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years.
Also, the party’s popularity has come under threat from an economic implosion that has condemned the majority of the country’s population into abject poverty.
To stay in contention, ZANU-PF is pulling all the stops to remain in the hearts and minds of the generality of Zimbabweans, particularly the youths, women and the war veterans.
In August, the party splurged about US$650 000 million on 13 Ford Ranger vehicles that were allocated to the former liberation war fighters who, of late, have been up-in-arms with the ZANU-PF leadership over its failure to address their grievances.
Secretary for transport in the party’s supreme-decision making organ, the Politburo, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, said the party had sought President Mugabe’s help to source the vehicles.
Taking delivery of the first batch of 45 Ford Ranger vehicles yesterday, Muchinguri-Kashiri said: “We came to you (President) seeking for assistance with 365 vehicles to service the party from the Politburo down to the districts and we would like to thank you for heeding our calls as this first phase has brought 45 vehicles.”
The fleet was officially handed over to her by President Mugabe at the party headquarters in Harare, much to the delight of members from the party’s Women’s League, who gyrated and sang songs of praise to their 92-year old leader.
During the brief handover ceremony, held before the 104th Central Committee meeting yesterday, Muchinguri-Kashiri also said: “2018 is upon us; these vehicles have come in handy,” she said.
“To ensure that they are not abused, we will give the vehicles to drivers who we will personally train and, in the long-run, we are looking at setting up our own party garage and driving school,” she said.
The acquisition of the vehicles, coming at a time when over four million people in the country are currently food insecure, has been described by some observers as a typical case of misplaced priorities.
Ahead of the Central Committee meeting yesterday, President Mugabe blasted his party officials for fanning factionalism and bringing the name of the party into disrepute.
“This has been a disturbing year for us as a party. As leaders, we failed to demonstrate maturity and discipline which is expected from us,” he said in reference to incessant dog fights that have been haunting the revolutionary party for a long time now.
“There is nothing wrong in expressing aspiration and ambition for positions in the party or in the private sector, but what we frown upon is unbridled and shameless ambition,” he said and added: “Maposition emuparty haajambirwe, tine matanho. Vanhu vanokwira zvishoma nezvishoma (People should not jostle for party positions. There are procedures (to be followed). People rise in the party through bit-by-bit). Dirty politics should not be entertained.”
The infighting has become so severe that his attacks on factionalism have fallen on deaf ears.
Some party officials have even perfected the art of attacking and embarrassing each other on social media platforms in the full glare of the public.
“Mapositions ariko, haasi ekuchemerwa; tichinzwa kuti vanhu varikuchekana nemapanga. (People should not jostle and fight over the available party positions.) Elections are there, people vote and whoever wins gets a mandate to rule; those who lose are not chucked out of the party, but it simply means that they stand another chance to contest and rule tomorrow,” President Mugabe said.