Zanu PF bids to regain Harare

HARARE - Zanu PF has launched an audacious bid to wrest control of Harare from the MDC in the forthcoming harmonised elections in what could prove to be an acid test given the popularity of its main rival.

Since 2000, the liberation movement has failed to control Harare following a dismal performance spawned by poor policies and protest vote from a disillusioned urban support base.

If there was any reminder to Zanu PF of what lies in store in its battle to regain Harare, last Sunday’s MDC star rally looms large.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a star rally at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield which was attended by a bumper crowd.

The crowds served to remind his critics and rivals that he is still the biggest game in urban areas.
Undaunted by this, Zanu PF Harare province has been drumming up support ahead of the elections by holding evening meetings in the northern suburbs.

This is part of a strategy that will see provincial chairman Amos Midzi and high profile speakers that include ministers visiting all the 29 constituencies in the capital.

Zanu PF currently holds the Harare South Constituency.

“We have learned from our previous mistakes and this time we are determined to getting it right. I have been listening to your grievances but I must say they are a result of voting for the wrong people and wrong party,” Savior Kasukuwere, Indigenisation minister, told the crowd that gathered at Lewisam Primary school in Harare East Constituency recently.

“President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF want to empower Zimbabweans so that we are in control of our economic affairs. We have dealt with the land reform and now we are implementing empowerment to distribute wealth amongst our people.”

Kasukuwere, who is also Zanu PF secretary for Indigenisation in the politburo, implored Harare East Constituency to dump sitting MP Tendai Biti whom he said is living in comfort.

“Where is Biti today? He is in comfort yet you struggle to register your children with schools in this constituency? Where is municipal development?

“All we see are potholes and persistent water shortages. Last time you did not vote wisely and this election gives you an opportunity to correct past mistakes,” said Kasukuwere.

This week, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo told Harare North residents to ditch the MDC and elect councillors with the pedigree to develop their wards.

Addressing a crowd at Pandhari Lodge, Chombo said it was a travesty of justice that the current crop of councillors serving the capital had shown a penchant for lavish lifestyle, abrogating from their duties.

"You elected the wrong people. Let me tell you: a councillor, in my opinion, is even more important that an MP. These MDC councillors you elected are more concerned with demanding more allowances and I-Pads. Most of them were just picked from Copacabana bus termini and got elected into office,” said Chombo.

Poor service delivery and corruption by some MDC councillors have given Zanu PF the platform to lay into its opponents.

Tsvangirai fired councillors over corruption, including in Chitungwiza where vast tracts of land were sold for personal gain.

Chombo said this was reason for residents to elect councillors who were not fly-by-night type.

“In 2008 Zanu PF lost because you said the supermarket shelves were empty and that there was hyperinflation. Now the goods are back on the shelves and there is dollarisation. Could there be any other reason for you not to vote us?”

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