AS THE election date draws ever closer, political party candidates have literally gone on overdrive in their campaigns, painting Bulawayo green, yellow, black and red. Zimbabwe’s major political parties posters are pasted everywhere imaginable.All this is done in an effort to garner that extra vote in preparation for the country’s harmonised elections on Wednesday. During the campaign, a precursor to what has been touted as a “do-or-die” election — the electorate is being enticed with T-shirts, caps and wrapping cloths, as well as overalls by candidates representing different political parties. Political regalia is one way to show one’s allegiance to a certain political party, but it raises eyebrows when one wears different political party T-shirts at the same time, as has been the norm during this campaign period. In separate interviews with Southern Eye, Bulawayo residents expressed mixed feelings over the political regalia they were being offered left-right and centre at shopping centres, rallies and even in their homes. Thembelani Nkomo of Nketa suburb said people were getting stylish by wearing party regalia but that did not mean they would vote for those candidates whose regalia they were putting on.
Report by Blondie Ndebele
“In terms of the dressing, we have gone to the deepest end of ‘colour blocking’ with red, yellow, green and whatever colour, all over the city,” he said.
“The funny thing is that someone has T-shirts of all the political parties.
“You find them wearing a Zanu PF argument one today, MDC tomorrow and Zapu the other day and you ask yourself ‘are these people really supporters of those parties or are they just doing it for the fun of it?’”
Menelisi Zhou, who lives in the central business district, said some people were getting the regalia from their organisations and since the political environment now accommodative, they wear their T-shirts without fear.
“In other government organisations people are given Zanu PF caps and T-shirts to advertise the party and garner more votes but, other people wear them for pride,” he said.
“I got a Zanu PF T-shirt because it is of good quality and I like it.”
However, Simiso Dube of Pumula South said not everyone who received the regalia was a registered voter and political parties should not read too much into it.
“Some are just putting on those T-shirts because they were given for free anyway,” he said. “It does not mean that they are genuine supporters of those candidates.”
Some residents said they now felt free to wear T-shirts of their choice, as the political environment was open, with less intimidation and victimisation for those supporting certain parties.
While welcoming posters pasted on almost every street corner, residents felt that the winning and losing candidates should join hands with everyone else in the clean-up exercise after the elections.