Wednesday, 12 October 2016

ZANU PF TO SPLURGE ON LUXURY CARS

President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF, whose stone-broke government is struggling to pay civil servants their salaries and keep social services ticking, is to spend tens of millions of scarce dollars to buy 480 top-of-the-range off-road vehicles to be used in the party’s campaigns ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

Contacted by the Daily News yesterday for comment, a guarded youth league secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere, confirmed that they had made “a request for resources” for use in the party’s campaign “seeing that 2018 is around the corner”.

“We need to be on the ground, and so naturally we must be prepared. We have made our request, although I cannot say how many vehicles we need, as that is for the secretary for transport to say.

“Besides, we will welcome and receive whatever the party gives us,” he said.
Earlier in the day, consistently-reliable party sources had revealed that Mugabe had recently given party organs, including the key youth and women’s leagues, assurances that the under pressure and woefully-undercapitalised Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) would allegedly bankroll the acquisition of spanking new Ford Everest 4X4 vehicles.

The news came as the World Bank had just confirmed in one of its latest reports that Zimbabwe’s economy is dying — after it also downgraded the country from its list of improved economies to the unflattering tier of struggling countries, as Harare’s political and economic turmoil continues to escalate.

Efforts by the Daily News to get comment from the central bank were unsuccessful, with governor John Mangudya said to be still out of the country on official business.

Ahead of the hotly-disputed 2013 harmonised elections, Zanu PF had also splashed about $10 million on the posh off-roaders which sell for about R500 000 each in neighbouring South Africa where they are imported from.

The well-placed sources said Mugabe had given the assurance about the planned vehicle purchases when he met the youth league national executive at the Zanu PF headquarters at the time when he also unexpectedly promoted Kudzanai Chipanga to head the influential organ.

“The president acknowledged the youth league’s request for vehicles saying he was going to make use of the facility that Zanu PF has with the RBZ to acquire the vehicles.

“It was also decided that the vehicles will be acquired not only for youths, but also for all the organs of the party including the women’s league, as well as parliamentary candidates,” a senior party bigwig said, adding that the nonagenarian had tasked secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, to expedite the process.

Repeated efforts by the Daily News to talk to Chombo yesterday drew a blank, with his office saying he was out of the country on unspecified business.

But opposition parties and pro-democracy activists who spoke to the newspaper brandished Zanu PF’s plan to splash funds on its election vehicle fleet as both “sick and immoral”.
“A snowball has a better chance of surviving in hell than the Zanu PF regime being able to afford buying 480 off-road vehicles for its 2018 election campaign without looting the little State resources that are still left to be looted in Zimbabwe.

“This is another criminal and fraudulent scheme to defraud the State of its financial resources in order to bankroll the election campaign of a political party that can never, ever win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“The RBZ is technically insolvent. The RBZ doesn’t even have a week’s import cover of foreign currency reserves. The central bank is like a leaking sieve. It is totally bankrupt.

“The Zanu PF regime has never really cared about the plight of the majority of the citizens. For the sake of holding onto political power, Mugabe and Zanu PF are even prepared to walk on our dead bodies. These people have got absolutely no shame. They have got no heart and no conscience,” Gutu added. daily news

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