POLITICIANS from across the political divide have been jostling to outdo each other in vote-buying by doling out food, sanitary ware, medical assistance, potable water, blankets, clothing and even cash to small community projects as the race to next Wednesday’s general elections hots up.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo shocked even his Zanu PF colleagues when he directed all local authorities to cancel all individual ratepayers’ debts accrued between February 2009 and June 30, 2013 to “cushion individual ratepayers from the severe effects of the economic challenges experienced during the period in question”.
The MDC-T dismissed Chombo’s directive as electioneering, saying it would cripple the day-to-day running of councils if implemented.
The wives of the leading presidential poll candidates President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Grace and Elizabeth respectively, have also entered the fray to play Santa Claus in support of their husbands.
First Lady Grace made a grand entry into the political arena a fortnight ago when she addressed her first major political rally alongside her husband and thereafter donated foodstuffs to Chiweshe villagers in Mashonaland Central.
She made similar donations at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera and at rallies in Lupane, Matabeleland North and Gwanda in Matabeleland South.
Not to be outdone by the First Lady, Elizabeth handed out sanitary ware to women in Matabeleland North province when Tsvangirai was campaigning in Binga.
Other prominent candidates dishing out election-related goodies are Mines minister Obert Mpofu, Ray Kaukonde, Godwills Masimirembwa, Paul Chimedza, Dexter Nduna and Munyaradzi Kereke of Zanu PF.
Mpofu has been donating food and money across the Matabeleland provinces, while Nduna dishes out money in Chegutu and also reportedly pays for people to watch Chegutu Pirates Football Club for free.
Masimirembwa has been sending water bowsers to provide clean drinking water to Mabvuku and Tafara residents, while Kereke has donated an ambulance to Bikita West in addition to other election related donations and projects he has been sponsoring in the constituency.
Chimedza and his doctor friends introduced free medical treatment for villagers in the Gutu South constituency he is eyeing.
MDC-T Women’s Assembly chief Theresa Makone has also been busy and recently donated a classroom block, 90 desks and 90 chairs to Hatcliffe High School. She has also been distributing blankets to the elderly in the Harare North constituency.