An election of old promises?: Main political parties yet to unveil election manifestos

Although both the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have launched election campaigns, neither has presented a clear manifesto outlining what they expect to achieve if they win the August 23 elections.

Zanu PF launched its election campaign on June 24, 2023, at Mutema High School in Musikavanhu Constituency in Chipinge while CCC launched its campaign on July 16, 2023, at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru.

Despite large crowds at their rallies, Zanu PF and the CCC have failed to provide an election message that will convince people to vote for them in the elections next month.

While the ruling party continues to ride on its mantra of delivering an upper middle-income society by 2030 and achievements, the CCC has hinted that its manifesto will be “For Everyone,” with the party leader Nelson Chamisa stating that it will be unveiled soon.

Responding to questions during a dialogue series on the 2023 elections organised by TellZim at the Bulawayo Media Centre last Friday, Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for Mpopoma-Mzilikazi, Admire Masikati said their manifesto was hinged on delivering a modern, prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030.

“It’s an all-encompassing manifesto,” he claimed, repeating what the party has said since 2018.

“We’re not going to leave anyone or no place behind. We are targeting production, productivity, building and modernising the economy. We are targeting empowerment, digitalisation and are targeting innovation. We are also targeting uniting the people of Zimbabwe. That is what the Zanu PF is hinged on.”

Masikati said Zanu PF had achieved its target of building a $12 billion economy by 2025 and now was focused on achieving an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

“Remember Zimbabwe is not the first country to have a heavy growth economic trajectory, China and the Asian Tigers did it. We are also following in the footsteps of those countries. Zimbabwe is targeting that by 2030,” said the candidate.

He claimed Zanu PF deserved another five years in power because the party was self-rebranding.

“From 1980 to 1999, the Zimbabwe that we are seeing today is different from the Zimbabwe that was by that time. There are a lot of circumstances that we’ve encountered as an issue, but what is important is that Zanu PF is self-rebranding. If you see the calibre of candidates that Zanu PF is brought into the fold for these 2023 elections, it shows that Zanu PF is rebranding,” Masikati said.

Masikati said a lot of youthful candidates had been thrown into the fold by Zanu PF.

“We have seen that if you blend experience and talent, you will reach your target and that is what Zanu PF has done. If you move around Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has a lot of youthful candidates. We’ve rebranded talent in the experience. Our target is to groom young leaders for the betterment of Zimbabwe today and tomorrow,” said the candidate, also chairperson of Zanu PF Bulawayo Province Youth League.

The 30 year old candidate said Zanu PF youth had a motto that “there is nothing for us without us.”

“That’s why we’ve started pushing the youths into the fold so that they learn the mantle of leadership if elected into office. Previous leaders have come and gone. But I’m a different breed of leaders. My focus is not all about self enrichment because I’m from the ghetto in Mzilikazi I’ve seen what young people are facing. I’ve seen what the community has been facing and it’s time to correct their anomalies and Zanu PF gave me that mantle to correct those anomalies on behalf of the party,” summed up Masikati.

At the same election dialogue series, aspiring CCC parliamentary candidate for Cowdray Park, Pashor Raphael Sibanda, said the party would unveil a manifesto titled ‘For Everyone.’

“We haven’t launched our manifesto as a party. But I’m sure you’ve seen or you’ve heard that we are bringing or unpacking what is called For Everyone and that is going to inform our manifesto. We want to bring a Zimbabwe that is called Zimbabwe For Everyone,” he said.

“As it is, Zimbabwe is not benefiting everyone. This country is benefiting a few families, a few individuals, the elites, particularly the opposition Zanu PF elites. Those are the same people that are benefiting from that. As CCC, we are bringing a Zimbabwe that will benefit everyone.”

Giving an example of his constituency, Sibanda said Cowdray Park was the biggest township in Bulawayo but received less from taxes paid by residents.

“I want to give you an example so that you see how the Zanu government thinks of the people of Cowdray Park and Bulawayo at large.  Cowdray Park is the biggest Township in Bulawayo which means when it comes to issues of paying tax, we pay so much tax more than anyone in this metropolitan province, but if you have to look at development in the constituency it’s vice versa. That shows you how Zanu or how the government is thinking of the people of Cowdray Park.”

“Secondly, the whole of Cowdray Park has two high schools. We have people who stay in a place called Phetsheya or Esigodweni where a young girl has to access the nearest secondary school, which is 15 kilometres away. And then you hear some other people saying there’s development in Cowdray Park and I’m asking myself, who are these people that are talking about development when it’s not even balanced?”

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