Zanu-PF fallout over campaign vehicles escalates

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HARARE – Unsuccessful Zanu-PF candidates in the recent harmonized elections have criticized the Harare provincial leadership for their perceived punitive actions, including threats to involve the police in the retrieval of campaign vehicles from candidates who did not immediately surrender them as instructed in a circular.

The affected candidates argued that they were not defying the Politburo’s directive to return party-issued vehicles but wanted an opportunity to discuss the matter with higher-ranking officials before making a decision.

Some candidates felt disrespected because the directive was communicated through social media instead of engaging with them personally.

While some candidates confirmed surrendering their vehicles, others believed that the Harare province was quick to punish aspiring MPs who had worked hard to narrow the losing margins against the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) in urban constituencies.

Among those listed as defying the directive were Godwin Gomwe (Budiriro North), Spencer Machangara (Chitungwiza North), Kiven Mutimbanyoka (Zengeza East), Tauya Mauka (Kuwadzana West), Tatenda Mukwena (Budiriro South), Mike Mashonganyika (Highfield), Witness Zinyama (Glen View North), Offard Muchuwe (Glen View South), Muchineripi Chamatowa (Dzivarasekwa), Tellmore Mujavhura (Kuwadzana East), and others.

According to an internal circular, only eight out of the 26 losing Zanu-PF parliamentary candidates had surrendered their vehicles by October 5.

In response to inquiries, Godwin Gomwe confirmed that he had already returned the car and urged to verify with the Zanu-PF Headquarters’ transport department.

Tauya Mauka explained that he was not refusing to return the car but was following the proper procedure to do so. He emphasized that these were not personal vehicles but were provided by the party and would eventually be surrendered.

The issue raised by the candidates was that they felt they should have been treated with respect and given an opportunity to discuss their concerns rather than being subjected to ridicule.

Recently, Zanu-PF instructed all its candidates who lost in the recent harmonized elections to return the vehicles they received for campaign purposes. The party had distributed 210 brand new branded vehicles, including 4×4 Nissan Navaras and Ford Rangers, to parliamentary representatives contesting in the elections. The directive was issued in a circular dated September 29, 2023, and addressed to all provincial chairpersons by Zanu-PF Secretary-General Obert Mpofu. It specified that defeated aspirants must return the vehicles by October 4, 2023, without fail.

In previous elections, the party allowed unsuccessful candidates to continue using party-issued vehicles for constituency work as shadow MPs with the hope of improving their political fortunes.

The fate of the returned vehicles and their potential reallocation was not immediately clear, but some may be assigned to elected party officials in various league structures, and others might be used as pool cars by secretariats at different levels.

Source – NewZimbabwe