When Christmas comes twice a year

HARARE – Christmas comes once a year, but in 2013 some Zimbabweans will enjoy it twice as political contenders rush to splash goodies to an otherwise forgotten lot.

Although elections in Zimbabwe since the turn of the millennium have been characterised by harassment, intimidation and a reign of terror, they have also brought temporary food relief to the people.

Like an early Christmas, the July 31 watershed election campaign has turned out to be a time to receive luxuries as politicians across the political divide play “Father Christmas” in a bid to woo the electorate.

Zanu PF’s candidate President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are leading the pack splashing truckloads of groceries including maize meal, sugar beans, cooking oil and salt to the electorate at every rally, a development viewed by his adversaries as blatant vote-buying.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “It is vote buying and we hope Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) is looking at this and that appropriate action will be taken in line with the Code of Conduct signed by all parties contesting in this election as well as chapter 7 of the new constitution.”

Despite protests by the contesting parties, beneficiaries of the politicians’ “benevolence” welcome the development. Future Mataramvura (not her real name) of Marondera who received goodies from the first family at the Zanu PF star rally in Marondera recently told the Daily News that it was their time to benefit from politicians who almost always tend to go into hibernation soon after they are elected.

“Whether we will vote for them (politicians) because of the goodies is neither here nor there. What is important to most of us is that at least we get something during the campaign period because that is when the ordinary person becomes relevant to the politician.

“They usually go away soon after the election only to come back when another election beckons, so this is our time,” said Mataramvura.

Development programmes are also rolled out during this period in candidates’ bid to lure voters, much to the glee of communities.

It is however, agents for the various candidates who are the biggest beneficiaries as they have easier access to the source of goodies.

As if not to be left out, ?apostolic and other independent African initiated churches whose leadership have openly declared their allegiance to Zanu PF have been at the forefront posing as the 2013 “Father Christmas”.

Destiny of Afrika Network (DAnet) led by the controversial clegyman Obadiah Msindo and Johannes Ndanga’s Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe are currently advertising residential stands in return for Zanu PF votes.

One of DANet fliers inviting Zimbabweans to vote for Mugabe and his party strewn all over the Harare Central Business District on Thursday in return for 100 000 stands read; “Tovaka namdhara R.G, todya namdhara Bob! Mdhara ari kutipa land for your stands, towana mastands nekuda kwamdhara!!!!! Vote Cde R.G Mugabe! Vote Zanu PF and vote for your stand and your dream house!”

In April ,Msindo said there was nothing wrong with members of the military and other security agents getting stands ahead of elections.

“No one is going to stop us from giving them stands and houses because they are underpaid by Tendai Biti (Finance minister) yet the peace and tranquillity we are enjoying now is because of them. They cannot continue to be lodgers in a country they are protecting and defending,” he said.

Currently hundreds of soldiers, police officers and other security agents are set to get residential stands ahead of the elections.

The media has been awash with reports that Mines minister Obert Mpofu has embarked on a maize for votes campaign in Matabeleland characterised by massive binges.

Mpofu however, says his food hand-outs are not a vote buying gimmick but a genuine desire to feed “his people” vowing not to be swayed by some political underachievers who think that donating food stuff to the people was vote buying.

“If the Movement for Democratic Change brings a lorry of food I will bring in five because we do not want you who vote for us to be hungry but we want you to be well fed,” Mpofu said.

The Mines minister argues that all the food he gives out during his campaign rallies was given to all across the political divide and distributed on site to make sure it is not diverted elsewhere.

While election donations have been viewed by some as vote buying, some of the projects initiated leave indelible marks in the communities while others leave communities worse off because the politicians fail to sustain the projects once elected or defeated.

In Hurungwe, district education officer Jaison Dzveta says despite the violence characterised the election in the district in 2008, several schools have benefited from the cut throat competition among the various politicians.

Ten of the best students at Karambazuma Primary School in Hurungwe West constituency each received full sets of school uniforms and fees for the next term from Wilson Makanyaire, who aspires to be MP on an MDC ticket.

Not to be outdone, Themba Mliswa of Zanu PF, who is also eyeing the same constituency, gave 10 bags of cement each for infrastructural development to Chikavanenyama Primary and Secondary schools.

Comments (6)

Question: Will corrupt people such as Obert Mpofu be investigated in a new dispensation?

connie - 22 July 2013

People, take and eat those things gire is dishing out. They are not hers, they are not out of her sweat or money. It is state money being monopolised and used to gain mileage by one person. Nothing will and should change what is in the people's hearts. People should go for pension, pension is for all. To win it you have to play it so do not fear from outside. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, let us test the new one.

wamwashu chirandu - 22 July 2013

Politicians think we r fools. This b***ch Grace thinks she can hoodwink us, thinks makes us very angry, why cant she stop this nonsensical Malaysian shopping spree and feed the people during the tym of hunger?WE ARE FED UP

mweshu - 22 July 2013

mukomondera torai asi vote musapa zanupf ndapota they have had their share since 1980 viva chinja viva

JAYJAY - 22 July 2013

When Mugabe and Jealous Mawarire used the partisan Constitutional Court to ambush the MDC-T by proclaiming the 31st July 2013 as the date of elections before vital security sector reforms to protect the unarmed voters Zuma did nothing to censure the Tyrant. Now he goes out to publicly humiliate Lindiwe Zulu to please the Dictator. Lindiwe's crime is that she has chosen to speak in defence of the oppressed people of Zimbabwe. No Mr. Zuma, you got it right with Julius Malema but on Lindiwe you will live to regret this especially if the Tyrant goes on to steal the elections. The people of Zimbabwe will never forgive you for this just like they have not forgiven Thabo Mbeki for the GPA that rescued his friend from the jaws of certain defeat!

Hwese - 23 July 2013

give a man fish and you will feed him for the whole of his life but teach a man to fish and he will feed his whole family.

the dreamer - 23 July 2013

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