Mugabe and ZANU PF Start Buying Votes
Villagers in Uzumba, a stronghold of ZANU PF, have started getting patronage from ZANU PF with the distribution of the party promises to be thousands and thousands of bags of fertiliser and seed. It is a clear indication that Mugabe is now in electioneering mood and has started buying votes.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 October 2009
That money ZANU PF has been stockpiling from the plunder of the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields is now being put to use buying votes.
Yesterday, the Member of Parliament for Uzumba, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, distributed 100 bags of fertiliser in the ZANU PF stronghold while promising the delivery of 10 000 more bags.
The gypsum fertiliser is being distributed to communal farmers only, identified as "deserving" through the ZANU PF structures in that constituency. This is a boon at a time when most other ordinary farmers are failing to access inputs such as seed and fertiliser, with banks demanding collateral to the extent of forcing farmers to use their livestock as security, an option that is being resisted heavily.
ZANU PF says it intends for the farmers to start a commercial peanut-making butter scheme in the area.
This is a classic ZANU PF strategy, where they punish those seen as opposition supporters by first dis-empowering the people and then selecting only ZANU PF supporters to benefit from government support structures and systems.
The rest of Zimbabwe's communal farmers are reeling from lack of capital and collateral even as inputs become freely available as a result of the dollarisation of the economy. Just today, State media reported that "The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has engaged a local financial institution to mobilise funds on behalf of small-scale (communal) farmers who are failing to access loans because they do not have collateral."
The TIMB says a tobacco farmer needs US$2 600 for seed, fertiliser, chemicals and labour to plant each hectare.
For tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe, the situation is compounded by the fact that most of them are owed money by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from the proceeds of last season's tobacco sales. Gideon Gono had promised that this year, he would make an arrangement whereby these farmers would get seeds, fertiliser and other inputs in a "debt-for-inputs" swap.
But, with Tendai Biti having squeezed the Reserve Bank to the extent that it is having a difficult time paying staff salaries, Gono is unable to repay his debts.
Clearly, ZANU PF has started campaigning. And they have reverted back to type.