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Zanu-PF vote-buying scandal raises alarm

by Staff reporter
21 Jul 2019 at 10:25hrs | Views
A leading election monitoring group has condemned Zanu-PF's alleged attempts to use medical drugs to influence the outcome of the Lupane East constituency by-election, saying the move violates the principles of democracy.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said it was disturbed by revelations that Zanu-PF commissar Victor Matemadanda requested the Health ministry to supply clinics in Lupane East with medicines and drugs as part of the ruling party's campaign.

A leaked letter by Health minister Obediah Moyo directing the state-owned pharmaceutical firm Natpharm to supply the drugs caused a stir recently with the main opposition MDC accusing Zanu-PF of vote-buying.

"While Zesn acknowledges the right of political parties to solicit for votes during the campaigning period, this act violates the principles of democracy," Zesn said in a statement.

"The network does not condone the trend of vote-buying using food aid and other resources meant to benefit all citizens with no affiliation to a political party in line with the constitution."

Zesn said vote-buying includes "promising, offering or giving money, goods, services or other inducements such as promises of employment or special favours or treatment to voters".

"It is, therefore, disturbing to note that essential drugs and medicines, which should be readily available and accessible to every citizen, are now allegedly tied to a political party's campaign for a National Assembly seat," Zesn added.

"Critical for a free and fair electoral context is a pre-election environment devoid of irregularities and malpractices such as vote-buying and the misuse of government resources where food aid such as maize and rice and other resources are being distributed along partisan lines.

"This inevitably creates an uneven playing field for political contestants."

Health and Child Care permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva last week tried to extricate the ministry from the scandal by claiming that the supply of drugs to the clinics was part of a routine government programme.

However, in her statement she did not make reference to Moyo's letter to Matemadanda.

In the 2018 elections, foreign observer missions and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission condemned the use of food aid by Zanu-PF to try and influence the outcome of the polls.

Source - the standard

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