Zanu PF resorts to food-for-votes tactics

Augustine Mukaro

IN their latest attempts to win the March 31 parliamentary election, Zanu PF candidates have resorted to politicising the scarcely available grain in the country to starve suspected oppositi

on supporters into submission.


Information reaching the Zimbabwe Independent shows that the politics of food have become rampant in Manicaland and Masvingo as Zanu PF candidates take over the selling of grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) while at the same time vetting beneficiaries.


Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Manicaland spokesman, Pishai Muchauraya, said the politicisation of food has intensified with the Zanu PF card being used as a licence to buy maize from the GMB.


“Vote-buying through food has become the biggest problem in Manicaland with the worst-affected areas being the three Makoni constituencies and two others in Chipinge,” Muchauraya said.


“Zanu PF youths have been deployed at all GMB depots to vet people coming to buy maize. A Zanu PF card has been declared the first requirement to be considered for purchasing maize.”


Zanu PF candidates for Manicaland include ministers Joseph Made and Didymus Mutasa as well as former CIO boss Shadreck Chipanga.


Muchauraya said in Chipinge South, Enock Porusingazi was issuing badges inscribed “Election 2005” to supporters attending his rallies. The badges are then used as a ticket to buy maize. Porusingazi is selling maize on behalf of the GMB.


“On March 8, at Betura village, ward 16, more that 2 000 people were denied access to buy grain for allegedly failing to produce the badges,” a source said. “Only 200 people who had attended Zanu PF rallies over the weekend had the badges and were allowed to buy maize.”


“If the situation is not rectified, we have a potential that some people might starve by mid-April,” he said.


Sources in Mwenezi said Zanu PF candidate Isaiah Shumba stopped the GMB from selling grain directly to the people and only permitted its sale through Zanu PF structures so as to screen beneficiaries. Shumba is the deputy Education minister.