The party’s leaders have not denied this.
They admit that they are using — and will continue to — State resources to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s regime, whose popularity continues to wane in the face a myriad of problems, particularly a broken economy.
Speaking on Thursday in Norton ahead of yesterday’s by-election, Vice President (VP) Emmerson Mnangagwa bragged that Zanu PF is the party in charge, with control over mines and everything, and he urged people to join the party on that basis.
“…hakuna mumwe musangano uchamuka muno muZimbabawe kupfuura Zanu PF… (no party will emerge bigger than Zanu PF). We are the people, we are the government, we are the army, we are the air force, we are the police, we are everything you can think of,” he told supporters at a rally.
“We determine who can do mining in Zimbabwe, we determine who can build a railway in Zimbabwe, we can determine who can build a road in Zimbabwe and no other party can do so,” Mnangagwa said, as he campaigned for Zanu PF’s Ronald Chindedza, who was facing independent candidate Temba Mliswa and National Constitutional Assembly’s David Choga.
The VP also said people must join the ruling party and not those that are being ruled, as there is no life outside Zanu PF.
Earlier, while also propping up Chindedza, Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao boastfully said Zanu PF will continue using State resources to fund the party’s projects and will offer no apology for that.
“I am here as Youths minister representing government to send a message to those who want to intimidate us with a misconception that government institutions like Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) and others cannot give resources to Zanu PF supporters,” he said.
“Zanu PF is a citizen of this country hence its supporters must benefit and we are unapologetic about it,” he went on, adding that the ruling party will also not apologise for using Udcorp — a government entity mandated to ensure the provision of housing.
Zhuwao’s remarks are on the back of Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa facing allegations of fraud and corruption over some $400 000-plus Zimdef money — part of it diverted to funding Zanu PF projects.
The Zanu PF leaders’ blatant admission that they abuse State resources to maintain grip on power comes as the party has been fingered as a major perpetrator of politicisation of food aid.
This has always been the case with every election in Zimbabwe.
Opposition political parties have complained that the monopolistic behaviour by ruling party is unfair and crowds them out.
In reaction to Zhuwao and company’s statements, MDC spokesperson, Obert Gutu, castigated Zanu PF for abusing national resources.
“Over the years, the Zanu PF regime has always illegally and unconstitutionally conflated the relationship between Zanu PF as a political party and the State or government,” he said.
“Because Zanu PF is basically a commandist and totalitarian quasi-political and militarised organisation, they have never ever appreciated that a political party, even if it happens to be the ruling party, is not the same as a government,” Gutu fumed.
“Put alternatively, the ruling party is not the government and conversely, the government is not the ruling party. In a modern constitutional democracy, these two bodies are indeed, separate and distinct entities,” he said.
Emphasising Mnangagwa and Zhuwao’s remarks that Zanu PF is in charge, Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira also gave a speech in Norton, claiming that non-Zanu PF supporters will have difficulties in accessing food aid, as the country battles a serious El Nino-induced drought.
“Zanu PF ndiyo iri kutonga (Zanu PF is in charge). All those needing assistance go and be involved in your districts and get your names written down … so local leadership wake up and start moving and listing all those in need of assistance every month, not just for one day,” she said.
“I have come here to make this clear. Local leadership inobata MP (Member of Parliament), igobata councillor, igobata vatungamiri wemusangano ende munozviziva kuti pachi … party iri pamusoro pehurumende (Zanu PF is above government).”
“This position I hold of being called a minister means nothing when I go before my (Zanu PF) district chairman. Ndiye ari pamusoro (Zanu PF office holders are more powerful than even ministers),” Mupfumira said.
Civil society organisations accuse Zanu PF of distributing food along partisan lines, a factor the party has always denied.
Zanu PF is also using its power and access to land, which it distributes to its supporters willy-nilly, while those from other political parties are left out from such programmes.
During its by-election campaign, Zanu PF parcelled out 5 000 residential stands to its supporters, depriving and excluding other parties’ followers of the same benefits.
Apart from that, several other government programmes, including scholarships, mainly benefit those that are seen as “politically correct”.
Gutu said “…over the decades, the Zanu PF regime has ransacked and looted State resources to fund the programmes of their crumbling and faction-ridden political organisation”.
“In fact, the regime has never made it a secret that it would use any means available, fair or foul, to continue to hold onto power in Zimbabwe. As a result, rampant corruption and brazen looting of State resources have become an integral component of the Zanu PF political DNA. Up until such a time that the Zanu PF regime respects and upholds the Constitution of Zimbabwe, we shall continue to experience the erosion of the sacrosanct principles of constitutionality and constitutionalism,” he said.