BY VENERANDA LANGA/blessed mhlanga
The manifesto, which was launched amid pomp and fanfare, with imposing billboards, campaign vehicles and top-quality regalia had glaring mistakes on the party’s presidential candidate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s biography.
For instance, the manifesto claims Mnangagwa served as Justice minister between 1981 and 2000 when he only became Justice minister from 1989 to 2000. Between 1980 and 1988 he was State minister.
Zanu PF also claims that Mnangagwa was Justice minister from 2009 to 2014 when he served as Defence minister from 2009 to 2013 before being elevated to the Vice-Presidency in 2014.
After losing the 2000 elections to MDC’s Blessing Chebundo, Mnangagwa was appointed Speaker of Parliament till 2005 and later served as National Rural Housing and Social Amenities between.
Law lecturer Alex Magaisa said such errors show that the manifesto was a rushed job and should embarrass Zanu PF.
“Zanu PF prides itself as an organised and efficient machine and yet they can’t even get the biography of their presidential candidate right. It’s obviously a rushed job with no attention to detail. There are schoolboy errors, which show lack of care and diligence. Frankly, the authors of this document must be embarrassed,” he said.
Academic and analysts Ibbo Mandaza said: “Shoddy work, amateurs at work and should be an embarrassment for the ruling party, it shows that they were in a hurry and leaves people in doubt of their leadership qualities.”
“The manifesto has incredulous promises by people who appear to forget that they have been in power from the past 37 years, they make new promises forgetting that just five years ago they made promises that they have hardly fulfilled,” he said.
Like the 2013 elections manifesto and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) document, the 2018 manifesto enunciated populist policies such as reducing water charges, reducing tollgate fees, hospital fees by 50%, fighting corruption and providing 1,5 million medium income housing units between 2018 and 2023.
Marvellous Khumalo, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Union of Residents and Ratepayers Association and director of Chitungwiza and Manyame Residents’ Association yesterday described the Zanu PF electoral promises in the 2018 as a mirage.
“If one were to look at their previous promises and what was achieved, you will find that they promised 2,2 million jobs and it is now 2018 and they failed to provide those jobs; and they promised 250 000 low cost housing units through ZimAsset, but they failed to deliver them,” he said.
“Now they are promising 1,5 million medium income housing units when they failed to construct 250 000 low cost housing units and what it tells us is that their 2018 elections manifesto promises are only a mirage,” he said.
On reduction of water charges, Khumalo said it was ironic that the same Zanu PF-led government, which was recently advocating for privatisation of water, was now promising reduction of water charges. In the run-up to the 2013 elections and in one of its populist gestures, Zanu PF slashed water debts for residents during the electoral season.
The move left councils wallowing in debt and failing to deliver services.
“Nothing has changed in terms of water and there has not been any change in terms of water storage bodies and yet they are speaking of reducing water tariffs, yet the same government advocated for privatisation of water. We know that their promises are a pie in the sky and we urge residents to re-look at all electoral promises and make an informed decision on whether they think they will be achieved or not so that they vote wisely,” Khumalo said.
Political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya said the promises in the Zanu PF 2018 manifesto were contemptuous of the voters.
“Every political party gripped by electoral fever tends to make policies, but these policies must be realistic, otherwise they border on contempt of voters and Zanu PF has always been contemptuous of voters and believes that Zimbabweans do not understand issues,” he said.
Ngwenya said the manifesto showed contempt of Zimbabweans because one cannot build an economy through reducing rates and prices of things by creating resources.
“All the promises are a pie in the sky and if I was a human rights lawyer I would immediately take the ruling party to the courts because they show contempt for the people,” Ngwenya said.
Other electoral promises in the 2018 Zanu PF manifesto include free medical treatment for cancer patients, and establishing at least one hospital in each administrative district, translating to 78 new hospitals by 2023.