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Zanu PF bigwigs denied Uhuru freebies

Traditionally, central committee members of the ruling party have enjoyed various perks during national events including complimentary fuel and accommodation.

ZANU PF bigwigs were left frustrated after the party denied them free fuel and accommodation for this year’s Independence Day celebrations held at Murambinda growth point in Buhera, Manicaland province.

Traditionally, central committee members of the ruling party have enjoyed various perks during national events including complimentary fuel and accommodation.

NewsDay gleaned a message that was sent to central committee members from the Zanu PF national headquarters through the party’s provincial offices before the  Uhuru celebrations yesterday.

“Central committee members are advised by the national transport department that there won’t be accommodation, fuel or bus fare refunds.

“Those willing to attend national events shall take advantage of the buses allocated to the province. Liaise with local district co-ordinators for pick-up points and routes,” the message read.

However, Zanu PF director for information Farai Marapira said there might have been a “glitch” for the bigwigs not to get fuel and accommodation.

“The party has always looked after its leadership. As with any programme a glitch may be here and there but not failure. We are not a party that fails its cadres.

“All central committee members and all other members are catered for professionally and fully,” he said.

But sources within the party told NewsDay that the decision was made due to budgetary constraints and the need to prioritise more pressing issues.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with economic challenges, including hyperinflation, unemployment and a severe shortage of foreign currency, which have strained the government’s resources.

While some see it as a necessary step towards fiscal responsibility and accountability, others view it as a betrayal of party loyalists who have supported Zanu PF through thick and thin.

Central committee members who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said they felt betrayed after working hard for the party to win elections last year.

Zanu PF leaders are known for lavish lifestyles, while the majority of the populace wallow in poverty.

A central committee report to the 7th Zanu PF National People’s Conference last year showed that the ruling party splurged millions of United States dollars on cars, party regalia and improving the welfare for its leaders.

The report stated that in 2017, before the late former President Robert Mugabe was removed from power, the party only had 45 vehicles.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has boosted the fleet to 531 — the largest in Zanu PF’s history.

The central committee report also revealed that the ruling party spent ZWL$1,8 billion and over US$4,8 million from January to September last year on staff salaries, gratuities, transport, health and allowances for party bigwigs among other expenses.

“In 2018, the Zanu PF party acquired an additional 438 new motor vehicles bringing the fleet size to 486,” the report read.

However, Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi revealed that legislators were sleeping in cars because of lack of accommodation when they attend parliamentary business.

“I rise on a point of privilege after some perennial challenges that are facing Members of Parliament each time they come to the House. There is a challenge in terms of accommodation. MPs get desperate to a point where some sleep in cars and others are disturbed by the approach of some of the hotels,” he said.

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