President Robert Mugabe has unveiled more than a dozen cars to kickstart his 2018 election campaign, with reports that more than 400 top-of-the-range off-road vehicles worth more than $20 million are expected, as the country swings into election mode.
Source: Zanu PF splurges $20m on 2018 polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 10, 2016
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/XOLISANI NCUBE
Mugabe yesterday handed over 13 Ford Ranger vehicles to war veterans through their minister, Tshinga Dube, at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare before a politburo meeting.
The vehicles will be deployed to all provinces, while they await more cars for distribution to party provincial structures and organs.
Handing over the vehicles — which included two twin cabs valued at $55 000 each and 11 single cabs, which cost $49 000 each — to Dube and his permanent secretary, Walter Tapfumaneyi, Mugabe encouraged them to “begin working”.
“Now you have the tools, you should now begin working,” he told Dube.
Dube said he was happy to receive the vehicles, which he would now despatch to provincial officers in the ministry so that they could begin the process of unifying the former fighters, who are sharply divided along factional lines precipitated by the Zanu PF succession wars.
“The ministry did not have any transport since it was formed, we can now look after our provincial field officers,” he said.
Tapfumaneyi said Mugabe had to source the vehicles to co-ordinate their programmes.
“Last Tuesday, after Cabinet, the President called the minister and I to his office at State House and said: ‘I am going to look for cars for the ministry.’ This is because we had told him that for almost two years now, we had no vehicle, these are the vehicles we are being given,” he said.
But Zanu PF sources said the fleet was part of a bigger consignment for all “crucial party departments” ahead of the crunch 2018 elections.
They told NewsDay that the next delivery was for the youth and women’s leagues before provincial executive structures get their vehicles.
“The aim is to increase visibility and mobility of all important organs of the party,” a source said.
“The war veterans had no resources to carry out their duties, hence, we decided to give them first. The vehicles will be used by provincial co-ordinators and they would be controlled by the ministry until such a time the war veterans’ associations come together under the party.”
According to sources, the youth league will get 20 vehicles, with 10 being distributed to provinces, while 10 will remain at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
The women’s league — sources said — will also get 20 vehicles to be distributed along the same lines as the youth league’s.
Each province, the source said, would receive 20 twin cab trucks for the 2018 election campaign.
Youth league secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere yesterday declined to comment on the matter, referring all questions to Zanu PF secretary for transport, Oppah Muchinguri.
“She is in a better position to comment on that issue. I can’t say anything, my brother,” he said.
Muchinguri’s mobile phone went unanswered, while party secretary for finance, Obert Mpofu was unavailable for comment.
Although the source of the funds being used to splurge on the vehicles remains unknown, insiders said there was speculation that the money was channelled through the government.
“The President bought 13 vehicles and yes he has given them to the war veterans so that they can use them in their programmes, the other matter, is not correct,” Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo said.
The vehicles are being unveiled a week after the government released $3 million to the War Veterans ministry — a move the Chris Mutsvangwa-led executive described as a plot to oust them from their posts.