A PATTERN is emerging of Zanu PF politicians who are using food handouts to woe potential voters to their campaign rallies in the Matabeleland region as the country trudges towards the July 31 harmonised elections.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu has been all over Matabeleland North Province dolling out food to desperate villagers before asking them to vote for Zanu PF.
His largesse has not only benefited people in perennially food deficient areas such as Binga, but also in his constituency of Umguza, which is dominated by recipients of the land reform programme.
Trucks laden with tonnes of maize have become permanent features at Mpofu’s rallies that were conducted almost every weekend before the campaigns gathered momentum a fortnight ago.
Not to be outdone, Small-to-Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni at the weekend slaughtered three beasts at a function held at Gwelutshana business centre in Nkayi as part of her campaign.
The minister has defended her activities saying the people were hungry and she was only helping.
Zanu PF has also been distributing grain and rice purportedly sourced by President Robert Mugabe throughout Matabeleland.
While giving starving people food relief is a noble idea, the big question to ask is why now a few days before the elections?
Where were these food handouts all these years when people in the region were struggling to feed their policies, mainly because of the failed Zanu PF policies?
Besides being unethical, the vote-buying spree by the Zanu PF officials is dehumanising for the people of this region.
The same politicians who are responsible for the poor people’s misery resurface on the eve of elections to buy them with food handouts that would not go beyond July 31 and no one sees a problem with that!
Under Zanu PF’s watch several irrigation schemes, some built by the colonial government in Matabeleland, are no longer operational.
The irrigation schemes besides ensuring food security for people in the rural areas also provided extra income for families.
The behaviour of the Zanu PF politicians would lend credence to sentiments that they have deliberately ignored development issues in the region so that they can buy desperate people to vote for them during elections.
Rival parties must encourage their supporters to take these handouts from Zanu PF politicians, but remember to make their votes count on the ballot boxes by punishing those who think they can be bought with maize and rice.