Zanu-PF gives rally attendees food, opposition says take it but punish party at polls
Thousands of Zimbabweans are flocking to the ruling party's rallies for chicken, bread, mealie meal, T-shirts and caps bearing the image of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking a second term in August 23 elections.
Videos circulating on social media showing Zanu-PF officials throwing loaves of bread at rally attendees have sparked outrage among commentators.
The economic crisis in Zimbabwe is self-evident and well explained at ZANUPF election rallies where citizens are reduced to scavenging for bread, which is used as bait for people to attend these election rallies.— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) August 2, 2023
The fact that the ruling party would do this to citizens and sees… pic.twitter.com/seudddq5Aq
In a country with a shattered economy, high inflation, unemployment and rising food prices, Zanu-PF’s free food is welcomed by enthusiastic party supporters.
At a recent rally in Mashonaland East, Mnangagwa thanked people for attending, even in “days of hunger”.
“I’m proud of you, you make Zanu-PF proud, you are the cream of Zanu-PF. Even visitors are surprised at this sight. This is the evidence that we are united during the day, night, in days of hunger and in times of plenty. Hate us as much as you can, you from the West, but we love our country. Zanu-PF is the most popular party in the country,” Mnangagwa told a cheering crowd.
Zanu-PF has a long history of using food to get votes, with the rural population also being promised free farming inputs. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), more than 3.8-million people in rural Zimbabwe face food insecurity and 42% of the country’s population lives in extreme poverty.
Susan Cherawu, a mother of three who attended a recent Zanu-PF rally, said: “I attended to receive free mealie meal because we don’t have anything to eat at home. I am grateful for the food we receive and I don’t mind waiting for hours just for the bread. At least my children will have something to eat.”
Zimbabwe's election is expected to be a race between Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
The CCC’s Epworth North parliamentary candidate, Zivai Mhetu, was quoted by NewZimbabwe.com as advising his party's supporters to accept the Zanu-PF goodies as their taxes are already paying for them, but to punish the party at voting booths because of poor socioeconomic conditions in the country.
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