INDEPENDENT electoral watchdog, Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn), has accused the ruling Zanu PF party of enjoying an unfair advantage over its rivals by abusing State resources such as vehicles, land, food aid, buildings and the State media to oil its campaign machinery ahead of the July 30 general elections.
BY Blessed Mhlanga
Zesn, in its pre-election report, said: “Use of government buildings or land by only one party while other parties could not use the same, use of government public address system or staging that other parties could not use; government officials speaking at party events campaigning at government-held events; and government food aid, or equipment that was given out at political party events.”
The report also disclosed that Zanu PF forced people to attend its meetings.
“Some of the incidents include Zanu PF youths who were reported to have gone door-to-door forcing residents of Zengeza West to attend a party meeting, while in ward 17, Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, people were forced to attend Zanu PF political meetings. These cases mar the political environment that has generally been noted to be relatively peaceful,” the report read.
“Zanu PF was the most dominant party in terms of campaigning by the various means. The LTOs reports show that the most commonly used method of campaigning is posters or banners on free sites for all political parties. Political parties have also used door-to-door campaigns more than other ways.”
Zanu PF held 206 meetings attended by less than 100 people compared to MDC Alliance’s 173, and New Patriotic Front’s 29 and another 29 for the Joice Mujuru-led People’s Rainbow Coalition.
In rallies attended by over 100 people again, Zanu PF was in the lead with 150 meetings compared to MDC Alliance’s 101, while Mujuru’s party only held 15 meetings recorded by Zesn.