Several Zanu PF candidates for the national assembly, Senate and council elections in Bulawayo are in a quandary as they do not have funds to bankroll their campaigns, it has been revealed.
Nduduzo Tshuma / Nqobile Bhebhe
A crisis meeting was convened on Tuesday afternoon at Davies Hall where most candidates bemoaned lack of funds which they blamed for Zanu PF’s low-profile campaign in the city ahead of the July 31 elections.
Even campaign posters, including those of President Robert Mugabe, are being used sparingly unlike in the 2008 March polls where they were plastered all over the city buildings and trees.
During the meeting, some affected candidates said they were even failing to print posters.
Politburo member Tshinga Dube eyeing Makokoba constituency, reportedly pledged $500 and seven bags of maheu to the desperate candidates.
“A meeting was held on Tuesday where a number of party candidates bemoaned lack of funds for their campaign,” he said.
“One candidate said he was so poor that potential voters dismissed them saying they could not even buy a match box for them.
“During the meeting, Dube pledged to contribute $500 and seven bags of maheu the following day, but provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu said there were too many candidates without funds and distributing the money and maheu would prove difficult.
“There were suggestions from the floor that the money be given to the most vulnerable party members, but still Ndlovu insisted that a lot of people did not have any money.”
Dube yesterday declined to comment on his pledge, saying: “I am not in a position to comment about that.”
Ndlovu also refused to comment saying: “Why didn’t you attend the meeting? I don’t comment on internal issues. Go back to your informants for more details.”
Zanu PF’s previous campaigns in the city have been characterised by flamboyance with candidates dolling out goodies, including cash.
Mobile phones and sim cards were dished out to potential voters in the previous election where President Mugabe was eventually outpolled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai before a controversial presidential run-off.
But the current campaign period looks gloomy in the city where the party is desperate to reverse the gains of the MDCs.
Some candidates have resorted to door-to-door campaigns, but party members said they were facing resistance as people were hesitant to let them into their houses.
Party insiders said candidates with viable businesses were relying on their own resources for the campaigns. They singled out Bulawayo East candidate Mlungisi Moyo, Nketa candidate Elifasi Mashaba and Dube, as the only candidates who were visible in the campaign trail.
“The likes of Moyo, Mashaba and Dube have the financial muscle to fund their campaigns,” a party insider said. Moyo’s posters are all over Bulawayo East. Mashaba has been hiring doctors to give free medical care to people in Nketa and Emganwini and Dube has made a number of donations in Makokoba.
“Most candidates thought that the party would assist them financially to run campaigns, but they did not get any funding,” another source said Mashaba has been bankrolling a medical programme where people get free treatment as part of his campaign.
Zanu PF has not won a single seat in Bulawayo since the formation of the MDC in 1999.