Africa

Zim elections: Zanu-PF moots 'super fund' to ensure support for Mugabe

Kennedy Maposa

Zanu-PF is planning a consolidated fund to bankroll its campaign for national elections so as to ensure candidates also campaign for Robert Mugabe.

Praise-singing: Zanu-PF's candidates may be barred from self-funding. (AFP)

Party insiders said the plan is to bar all party electoral candidates from self-funding their campaigns as a strategy to force them to rally behind Mugabe, who in some instances in the 2008 poll garnered less votes than some members of Parliament in their constituencies.

The party's national fund had been mooted to control the campaign activities of candidates, sources said.

Zimbabwe holds its presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and local government elections in one poll. In the past Zanu-PF has allowed its candidates to fund their own activities, a practice that sources say has resulted in some of its candidates only focusing on their individual campaigns and not selling Mugabe to the electorate.

"No one will be allowed to personally fund their elections," the source said. "It's all going to come from one fund and the condition is that all candidates will campaign for the president, [together] with their own campaigns for parliamentary and other electoral posts riding on the president."

Contacted for comment, Zanu-PF's secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, said he would not discuss party business with the Mail & Guardian.

"That's a Zanu-PF internal affair. Why should Zanu-PF announce its strategy to the whole world? These are affairs we cannot discuss with the press," said Mutasa.

2008 elections
WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organisation that publishes private, secret and classified media from anonymous sources, in 2011 released classified United States embassy cables that revealed that some elements within Zanu-PF had campaigned against Mugabe under a strategy dubbed "bhora musango".

In that 2008 poll, party sources said, some Zanu-PF members voted for their constituency candidate but against the party's presidential candidate. Mugabe lost the first round of the 2008 presidential election to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe secured 1 079 730 against the party's total of 1 110 649. Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562, which was higher than the total votes for his party at 1 41 176.

Tsvangirai, however, failed to get sufficient votes to be declared the winner in terms of a constitutional requirement, forcing a runoff election in which the MDC leader pulled out, citing violence. 

"It's worrying Mugabe as he goes to this election. He is anxious to rally all members around him to make sure that there are no rogue voters among party supporters," a party member and former war collaborator said.

It was not immediately clear how Zanu-PF intends to mobilise the money for its fund, although speculation has been rife among political commentators that the party would tap into revenue from Marange's controversial diamond fields to fund its campaign.

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