Tuesday, 6 April 2021

ZANU PF TARGETS CHIEFS, COUNCIL BOSSES IN ELECTIONS PUSH

THE ruling Zanu PF party is targeting chiefs, council bosses and their employees for indoctrination at the Hebert Chitepo School of Ideology to help drum up support ahead of the 2023 general elections.

An internal memorandum dated February 25, 2021 shows that the party has been directed to recruit traditional leaders, council bosses and employees for the party’s ideology indoctrination.

The ruling party said in order to create a strong bond between the party and government, the district co-ordinating committee (DCC) members would be trained together with Rural District Council (RDC) chairpersons, chief executive officers, district development co-ordinators and chiefs.

Chiefs, according to the Constitution, are supposed to be apolitical, but have been abused by the ruling party in successive elections in return for tokens of appreciation such as cars and cash allowances.

The memo, written by Chitepo School of Ideology principal Munyaradzi Machacha to secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, stated that the training would be part of the party’s strategy to mobilise five million votes for Zanu PF ahead of the 2023 elections.

The letter was copied to party national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa, national commissariat, secretary for national security and the secretary for transport and welfare, among others.

Mpofu and Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira were not picking calls yesterday when NewsDay tried to reach them on the matter. Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo referred all questions to Machacha.

“Why not call Machacha himself on that, I am sure he will assist you,” Khaya Moyo said. Machacha did not deny that he authored the document, but refused to comment.

“Why are you concerned with our party issues?” he asked. “Why do you want to involve yourself in our internal affairs? My communication with the party secretary has nothing to do with public interest. Whoever leaked that document had no right to do that.”

The programme, the letter stated, was part of the district co-ordinating committee training programme countrywide that was set to begin during the second week of last month.

“This is a follow-up on the recently-elected DCC members who should provide the necessary leadership on the soon to follow ward-based train-the-trainer programme,” the memo further read in part.

“In order to create a strong bond between the party and government, the DCC members will be trained with local government officials comprising the party district co-ordination committees, chairman of the rural district councils, chief executive officer of the RDCs, district development coordinator and local chiefs.”

According to the training objectives, participants by end of training should be able to: “Carry out vigorous mobilisation programmes within their districts in order to achieve the five million voter population for Zanu PF in 2023”.

“It is, therefore, against this background that this DCC training programme is planned in such a manner that three districts will be covered consecutively within three days. In this regard, the school looks forward to necessary support from all stakeholders,” Machacha’s letter said.

The training programme, he said, was also meant to “create synergy and bonding between the party DCC structure and local government officials in pursuit of economic developmental goals in line with vision 2030.”

Harare Metropolitan province, which has already undergone training at Dadaya National Youth Training Centre, will have to undergo “a two-day concentrated training in order to synchronise them with their local government officials using the same training template to be used in other nine provinces”.

Zanu PF has been accused by the opposition of interference in local authorities, but the ruling party has denied the claims.

Machacha added: “Priority will be given to Bulawayo, whose DCCs’ leadership was first to be elected and has been on the ground for a fairly long period.”

“DCC training is a necessary requirement since it is key as we approach the 2023 harmonised elections. Team spirit, commitment to duty and efficient management of time is expected from all stakeholders as we prepare our party Zanu PF to register yet another resounding victory in the 2023 harmonised elections.”

Observers have raised the red flag over why Zanu PF was targeting councils and municipal officials for indoctrination ahead of elections, with former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi saying it is another rigging ploy.

Mzembi, who is in exile in South Africa since the ouster of the late former President Robert Mugabe via a military coup in November 2017, took to microblogging site Twitter saying: “Zanu PF-government conflation is 2023 rigging in motion.” Newsday

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