Zanu-PF must ‘humbly can­vass for votes’

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - WORLD -

ZIM­BABWE’S Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day called for his rul­ing Zanu-PF party to “humbly” ap­peal for votes as he launched his cam­paign ahead of elec­tions ex­pected in July.

The elec­tion will be the first with­out Robert Mu­gabe in power since the coun­try won in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain in 1980.

Mnan­gagwa took over in November last year af­ter Mu­gabe, now 94, was forced out of of­fice when the mil­i­tary briefly took over.

Pre­vi­ous elec­tions in Zim­babwe have been marred by elec­toral fraud, in­tim­i­da­tion and vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing the killing of scores of op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers in 2008.

“I ap­peal to my fel­low can­di­dates to humbly go out and can­vass for the votes,” Mnan­gagwa told thou­sands of provin­cial party rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the cam­paign launch in Harare.

“You can’t force peo­ple to vote for you. We can per­suade peo­ple to vote for us.”

Mnan­gagwa, 75, has re­peat­edly pledged to hold free and fair elec­tions as he seeks to mend in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, but he has also been ac­cused of in­volve­ment in Zanu-PF’s past record of elec­tion vi­o­lence.

He is a veteran party loy­al­ist who served as Mu­gabe’s deputy un­til he was sacked shortly be­fore Mu­gabe was ousted.

Mnan­gagwa and the Zanu-PF will take on the main op­po­si­tion Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change (MDC) party, now led by Nel­son Chamisa fol­low­ing the death of Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai in Fe­bru­ary.

The Zanu-PF man­i­festo vows to re­pair the shat­tered econ­omy and take an­nual GDP growth to 6%, bring in $5-bil­lion (R62.5-bil­lion) for­eign in­vest­ment a year and build 1.5 mil­lion new houses.

Mas­sive ban­ners at the venue pro­claimed Mnan­gagwa as “the leader who cares for all his peo­ple”. The party handed out all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles to each can­di­date in all 210 con­stituen­cies.

A po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Masvingo State Uni­ver­sity, Takavafira Zhou, said Zanu-PF of­fered lit­tle that was new for vot­ers de­spite the fall of Mu­gabe.

“You can­not ex­pect solutions from the very peo­ple who cre­ated the prob­lems,” he said.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP

WILD WEATHER: Only de­bris re­mains of the house of Ra­jveer Singh, 62, af­ter heavy storm winds in Kher­a­garh on the out­skirts of Agra on Thurs­day. Singh is suf­fer­ing from se­ri­ous in­juries in ICU and lost his grand­son and wife in the ac­ci­dent. The death...

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