WHILE the majority of Zimbabweans have to contend with a lack of social service delivery including clean water, health services and access to schools among other essentials, the ruling party Zanu PF, was this week receiving numerous cars worth tens of millions of dollars and other campaign materials also running into millions of dollars.
Candid Comment,Owen Gagare
If the money was coming from legitimate sources, with Zanu PF delivering on its electoral promises and therefore governing an economically stable country, there would not be an outcry over the huge spending.
But this is not the case.
It is well known that Zanu PF is broke and has been surviving on bank overdrafts as confirmed by the party’s central committee reports year after year. The clean money that the party gets from the state under the Political Parties Finance Act — which enables parties with a representation in parliament to receive funding — is not enough to meet such extravagant expenditure.
Zanu PF has developed a culture of abusing state funds and resources, looting parastatals and other quasi-government operations such as the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, as well as receiving funding from opaque companies exploiting the country’s natural resources to finance its party activities.
The trend seems to have extended to the upcoming general elections.
While Zanu PF is buying cars many suburbs in the capital city have gone for days without water. Water problems are also common in other cities and towns countrywide. Load-shedding is also back, never mind the fact that many companies have shut down over the years.
Crucially also, Zimbabwe is failing to contain medieval diseases like cholera and typhoid. It’s a shame that the government, is failing to provide foreign currency for importing medical drugs, raw materials and water treatment chemicals, but is able to provide forex to buy campaign cars.
The country’s hospitals, including referral centres, such as Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, are ill-equipped and have to contend with a shortage of drugs, even pain killers in some cases. Some provincial and district hospitals are operating without ambulances and many people, among them accident victims, are dying because of the none availability of ambulances to speedily transport them to medical facilities.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration could have put the money to better use by buying much needed ambulances.
It’s also ironic isn’t it, that Zanu PF is talking about creating jobs, yet the 113 vehicles which passed through Beitbridge Border Post without paying a cent in duty, were branded in South Africa. Surely, a local company could have done the branding.
The splurging on cars and campaign materials, does not make sense to many people, but it makes sense to those who know Zanu PF. The party’s priority is to keep and consolidate power — nothing else.
Service delivery, resuscitating the economy and improving the lives of Zimbabweans are secondary.