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Zanu-PF doesn't run cheap campaigns, says Mpofu

17 Jun 2018 at 20:51hrs | Views
ZANU-PF is  going for broke ahead of the July 30 general elections with a war chest of over $200 million despite reports that the ruling party is broke. The extravagant campaign has raised questions about the source of the funding amid allegations that foreign countries are bankrolling Zanu-PF.

Obey Martin Manayiti (OMM) yesterday spoke to Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu (OM), who defended the spending, saying the ruling party had many sources of money. He also spoke about allegations that the selection of primary candidates had left Zanu-PF in tatters and that there were fears President Emmerson Mnangagwa's campaign might be sabotaged by disgruntled party members. Below are excerpts from the interview.  

OMM: The divisions that rocked Zanu-PF during the primary elections  seem to be persisting despite the nomination court sitting last Thursday where some candidates decided to stand as independents. How are you addressing those problems?

OM: It is their democratic right to do so although there are quite a few that have gone that route. The majority are working with those that succeeded in the primary elections. There are just a few cases where some of our aspiring candidates have chosen to go independent.

OMM: So you are not worried about them?

OM: We are worried in as far as these are our members, but if they decide to take that course there is not much we can do. They know that Zanu-PF is a democratic party and it will not dissuade  people from pursuing their missions in whatever way.    

OMM: It seems as if Zanu-PF is overconfident about winning the forthcoming harmonised elections. What makes you that confident?

OM: No, my brother, we are the only party that has upheld the aspirations of the people before independence where we fought for the emancipation of our country and after independence we have tried, regardless of the economic challenges.  Zanu-PF has always tried to uplift the majority of our people. Remember the land reform programme, the issue of peace and we are the only party that can assure stability in this country. If you look at our manifesto, it addresses all the aspects of people's freedoms and rights and others.   

OMM: Zanu-PF has been saying it will do things differently during this election campaign. Please explain what you mean by that?

OM: Firstly, we had over 10 000 members of the party seeking to be nominated as Members of Parliament and that opened the space for people's wishes. All of them were processed and at the end of it all, we had the required number of MPs and councillors as per the constitution.

Secondly, we have assured the nation of peace and stability during the campaign period and at the time of elections. I am the minister of Home Affairs and I have given instructions across the board that police should deal with whoever goes astray. Whoever feels interfered with or intimidated or threatened on political grounds should report to the nearest police station and that will be dealt with.

We have also asked the world to come and participate in the observation of our electoral processes and this has never happened before. We have said the door is open for any interest groups and individuals who are interested to see how we conduct our elections.

However, we have not invited them to come and interfere with our processes. We might have one or two instances, you know, when dealing with human beings there could be one or two who are against the rules, but we want to deal with whatever comes in terms of interfering with due processes across all political parties.

My president is prepared to meet with his colleagues who are contesting against him just to assure them of the same message and also to get their assurances of how they are going to conduct themselves.        

OMM: Critics say this Zanu-PF campaign lacks direction compared to those of the  Robert Mugabe era. What is your reaction to that?

OM: We are not talking about the era of former president Robert Mugabe.  We are talking about the current dispensation whose superintendent is none other than President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who himself was a subject of unfair justice and he knows exactly what it means to subject people to unjust conduct or process of political activity.

Therefore, he means what he says because he experienced it himself during that period. We are very clear as cabinet, politburo and members of the party of his vision of a peaceful Zimbabwe and at no time has he ever mentioned to us anything to do with violent politics. He urges us to conduct ourselves peacefully and to allow other players to do their game without fear or favour.     

OMM: But people are saying Zanu-PF lacks sharpness and precision.

OM: What does that mean?

OMM: Judging by the way you are doing things right now?

OM: We have not yet started our campaign activities. It will only start now because the nomination court is done. Zanu-PF is just moving around and the president has been moving around to look at projects and appreciate the economic state of provinces and now we are going for a full throttle campaign through star rallies.
We will despatch our vice-presidents throughout the country, the politburo members and we have lined up star rallies for the president throughout the country. The opposition is yet to see the juggernaut of Zanu-PF when it comes to appealing to membership and its voters. Those saying we are not active on the ground must wait and see   

OMM: The president revealed that there is a group of Zanu-PF candidates plotting to impeach him if he wins the presidency. What is Zanu-PF doing to prevent that?

OM: The election process for candidates in Zanu-PF was very thorough exactly to address some of those issues and it will be naïve for anyone to think of jumping out of a moving train.

Zanu-PF is a train that is going to deliver people to prosperity and who will ever contemplate leaving the party under our leadership? Of course, there were people who thought it would be the case but look, Zanu-PF is the party of delivery and we have candidates who have gone through thorough screening of the party to represent the party and I can assure you that no candidates are going to be found wanting when it comes to loyalty to the party. We may have individuals like in any situation who have such tendencies, but we will be on the lookout to make sure that it will not happen.

OMM: Do you fear a bhora musango (redirected votes)campaign?

OM: Any political party will have concerns about that, but we have selected candidates that will ensure that their voters vote for Zanu-PF. Even if we have such people they will still lose anyway. Zanu-PF has enough genuine supporters who will ensure that the party wins this harmonised election.
 
OMM: The opposition has continuously claimed that Zanu-PF has roped in the military in its campaign, especially in rural areas for purposes of intimidating the electorate. What is your reaction to that?

OM: Again we always get surprised by the opposition parties. Their message is just about Zanu-PF, that is the only thing they can deliver to the electorate and think they can win an election.

They have been complaining about everything, but we have challenged them to come up with evidence that such a development is happening. After all, we have retired policemen, military, prison officers who have chosen to take political careers be it in Zanu-PF, MDC or any other political party and that is their right as Zimbabweans.

If they are talking about uniformed forces, then their concerns are totally misplaced. We have members of the party who retired from the private sector, government, from the army, police or wherever and how do we chase away people who want to come to the party just because they have been in certain organisations of the government? They are free to join any party of their choice.

They talk about this, but we wonder what their concerns are. I know of a lot of former army generals who are in MDC or in other parties. for example, (Ambrose) Mutinhiri, who was my instructor during the war, he is a well-respected general, but now he is in the opposition. (Agrippa) Mutambara is in the opposition and why don't they talk about them if they don't want people who were in the army to join the politics of this country?            

OMM: Zanu-PF is running an expensive campaign. Where are you getting the money since a recent central committee report revealed that the party is broke?

OM: We have never run a cheap campaign, my brother, we prepare ourselves and Zanu-PF is the only most organised political party in this country. As you may have seen during our nomination, there were no issues on the Zanu-PF side.

We have always budgeted for our campaigns and what we are doing is exactly what we have done before although we are even now more modernised in our campaigns than we used to be before.

Just a few minutes ago you were saying we are lacking precision, but you are now saying the campaign is very sophisticated. I am the secretary-general of the party and what we are doing is what we have planned for. It is going according to plan and the resources are there, we have mobilised the resources. This is not unusual because we planned it although now we are a gear up.

OMM: But where is Zanu-PF getting that money?

OM: Zanu-PF has over three million members and they subscribe to the party. We have diaspora support who have come up and identified themselves with our programmes and our campaigns.

We have well-wishers, businesspeople in Zimbabwe who are associating with the party and it's overwhelming when it comes to the support of the party. That is why we are actually managing our campaign through quite advanced resources, but I know you want me to comment on the millions that have been talked about in the media.

OMM: Yes, you can comment on that.

OM: This is the party's resources through well-wishers and companies that support us, but if you have any information outside what I am telling you please provide evidence. I am fully aware of what is happening in the treasury of the party and this is a party of choice. People love Zanu-PF.

OMM: Why were you keeping a secret account with so much money?

OM: How can an account be secret when it is in a bank here in Zimbabwe? All accounts are secret, isn't it? I don't know what the MDC account is.

When is an account called public? All accounts are secret to their owners and you want Zanu-PF to advertise its account just for the sake of transparency?

It doesn't work that way. It is not only that account alone, Zanu-PF has accounts to support various programmes in its departments so that account you are talking about is the party's account and if you want to call it secret, well, but you know about it.

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