Johannesburg - The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) has condemned the dishing out of food packages by Zimbabwean politicians who are trying to woo voters.
Zimbabwe is going ahead with general elections in August in a hotly contested environment that has drawn the eyes of the world in the direction of the once-prosperous country. Today, many Zimbabweans are expats in other African countries and abroad because of the poor economic and political climate there.
A spokesperson for the ADF on Zimbabwean affairs, Ngqabutho Mabhena, said it was said that 43 years after independence, Zimbabweans were still offered food for their votes.
“The election in Zimbabwe is not based on improving the material condition of the people of Zimbabwe; you have those that have access to money and those that are in the looting class, whether they are in the opposition or whether they are in the ruling party. Those that use donor funds for purposes of buying voters by giving them freebies,” Mabhena said.
Mabhena said a democratic election decades after independence should be conducted with integrity and with the aim of ensuring fairness for all parties represented.
“Those that were elected in the last election should be used to account to the electorate in 2018 to say: This is the manifesto that we presented to you in terms of implementation; this is how far we have gone where we failed to implement what we have promised you; it was based on these reasons,” he said.
Mabhena said new parties and those who are contesting should also offer the electorate their best manifesto. He said it was shocking that schoolchildren were being taken to see a traffic light that had been erected.
“You see voters celebrating that they have been given Chicken Licken at a rally, and someone is going to be voted on the basis that he provided Chicken Licken and cool drinks at a rally,” he said.
There had been clips on social media of women in Zimbabwe explaining that they had been given Chicken Licken and two cool drinks for their votes. In another clip, the woman said she had been given some maize on a plate.
The Zimbabwean elections are critical for South Africa as a large population of Zimbabweans has sought refuge in South Africa because of the dire economic and political conditions in their country.
Some political parties have blamed western sanctions for Zimbabwe’s collapse as the bread basket of Africa.