Saturday, 5 August 2017

ZANU PF TARGETS 5 MILLION SUPPORTERS

Zanu-PF has set an ambitious target to mobilise over five million supporters to register to vote and seal emphatic victory for the party in the 2018 harmonised elections.

The party has already activated its expansive mobilisation systems, with a nationwide headcount of members from cell to national levels underway.

Each provincial executive has been mandated to gather 500 000 supporters to bring the ultimate tally of potential Zanu-PF votes to five million-plus.

The party is also ramping up campaigns in urban areas, particularly Harare and Bulawayo — the beleaguered opposition MDC-T’s perceived strongholds.
In addition, district and provincial structures are being organised and attuned to the envisaged grand ballot harvest.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo last week confirmed that the party was oiling its election machinery, before referring further enquiries to the Commissariat.

National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere told The Sunday Mail, “We have started our mobilisation campaign, and all provinces are hard at work; restructuring our structures from cell level. From a national perspective, we are targeting to have more votes than those we had in 2013.

“We had 2,1 million voters then, so the target is to beat that number. It is public knowledge that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has announced its plan to register seven million 
prospective voters for the polls.

“Therefore, what we have said is that if seven million people are registering, then five million of those people should be our supporters. Initially, we were looking at figures like three million, but we are not taking anything to chance.”

Cde Kasukuwere continued: “We are not taking anything to chance, so we are schooling all our structures so that they understand what polling station-based voting is all about.
“So, look at it this way: In every ward, we should know our supporters. This is a comprehensive exercise. Our plan is that by the time voter registration starts, we will have our figures at hand.”

On demographic dynamics, Cde Kasukuwere said, “We feel that youths are going to be crucial in next year’s elections, and we need to speak to their aspirations. We have our traditional voters, but we need to do more to woo youths because previous elections have witnessed a lot of voter apathy from young people.

“I want to warn the opposition on urban areas: We have made a lot of headway there. The opposition did themselves a great disservice when they decided not to take part in by-elections. The party has vowed not to lose any urban seat that it is holding now. The electorate is not stupid. People have seen that they are getting nothing from sitting MDC legislators in urban areas.”

Political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa said, “If Zec is saying it will register seven million, then I venture to say that 60 percent of that figure will go to Zanu-PF. The numbers show that since 2008, Zanu-PF has been exponentially growing its voter population.

“(This is because) the opposition, really, has nothing to sell to the electorate apart from looking forward to a protest vote. The protest vote worked in 2008, but it looks unlikely that it will work again 10 years later.”

Mr Mureriwa added, “The youthful voters are going to be the catch in 2018, and this will obviously contribute the biggest chunk of the new voters that political parties need to capture. With its empowerment programmes aimed at freeing up sectors of the economy such as small scale mining and agriculture, Zanu-PF is better-positioned.”

A scholar who preferred anonymity said: “The voter demographics are not likely to change in 2018. We are going to see the rural population being the majority of the voters because they constitute the bulk of voters anyway.

“So, on that basis, I see Zanu-PF having the upper hand because the opposition has totally failed to make any headway in these crucial rural areas.”

Regarding the opposition coalition, the scholar said: “What the coalition means is that you are going to see new faces from different political parties and these characters may not be known to the electorate.”

Zimbabwe goes to harmonised polls in 2018, with the main political players already gearing up. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will roll out Biometric Voter Registration in late 2017 using technology that can capture details of up to 16 million prospective voters.

Figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency and the United Nations indicate the country’s population has leapt from 13, 061 239 in 2012 to between 14 to 16 million.

About 5 874 115 people registered to vote in the 2013 plebiscite. Of these, 3 480 047 cast ballots in the Presidential poll, while 3 377, 276 participated in parliamentary elections.

The number of registered voters in 2008 was 5,934,768. sunday mail 

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