Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Flexes Muscles, Shuts Down Business Centres, Buses and Dumps Thousands of Villagers to Mnangagwa’s Last Rally in Show of Power

CHILDREN of primary school going age stood along the almost 50km long dusty Lalapanzi to Shurugwi dirt road, waving in awe and excitement at hundreds of buses carrying thousands Zanu PF supporters to Tongogara Business Centre, Saturday.

For an area not used to that much traffic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s last rally provided them with a front row seat to witnessing the ruling party’s financial muscle, here exhibited in its ability to bus thousands from across Zimbabwe.

Bus after bus, trudged towards Shurugwi, leaving behind fumes and clouds of dust that will be talked about for ages in the backwood.

Abandoned by parents whose presence had been ‘requested’ at the rally’s venue, the curious children could even afford getting dangerously close to the Yu Tong, FAO buses which are more modern as compared to those that ply their route.

Homes and shops as far as St. Michaels were ordered to close, in what a villager said was ‘normal.’ The Dengamombe, Nhema and Muchakata areas were virtually emptied.

Fambisai General Dealer, a somewhat busy shop in the dry region, and various others past St. Michael’s Primary school were locked.

“We were told to shut our shops because of the rally,” said attendant moments after officers from the President’s office had been deployed there.

An opportunity to make a killing was missed, although that could be questioned considering over 150,000 packs of chicken and chips had been ordered from popular outlets Chicken Inn and Chicken Slice.

Six kilometres to Tongogara Business Centre, a meandering queue of hundreds was being dropped off to collect the now popular meal, party regalia, loaves of Mnangagwa’s bread, Pepsi and bottles of water.

Zanu PF supporters and villagers queuing for freebies at a rally in Mberengwa on Saturday

An unconfirmed figure of US$2 million has been used for each of Mnangagwa’s rallies.

Although a considerable number looted and turned back, their action did not considerably affect attendance, the ground at Tongogara was filled to the brim.

“We left Gokwe as early as 2am for this rally,” said one supporter.

A field had been reserved for buses coming from afar, creating a mixed bag of Ndebele, Karanga, Zezuru and Ndau speaking supporters amongst many.

Oblivious to the hustle they would have to endure after proceedings villagers chanted party slogans, sang Hwenje’s Zanu OF classics, while all too eager to scream ED pfe at any chance. ED pfe is one of Mnangagwa’s rallying cries and is in reference to him entering State House.

“Those going to Gokwe please come and stand here so that we do not miss each other,” a villager shouted just outside the venue.

Mnangagwa had left in his presidential chopper moments ago.

His case was not unique; a few metres from where he stood an elderly woman from Mberengwa could not find her bus home. She told journalists they had arrived at Tongogara Business Centre early in the morning.

“We are looking for a bus to Musumhe in Mberengwa, we cannot locate it. We do not know whether it has left already. It is white in colour, “said a desperate looking woman in Zanu PF party regalia.

Vamwe vatsigiri veZanu PF vodzungaira nekushushikana muShurugwi mushure mekunge vasiyiwa nemabhazi ekumusha kwavo. #ElectionsZW

— #ElectionsZW (@TheFeedZW) August 20, 2023

For a taste of chicken and chips, a delicacy rarely found in their back of beyond, villagers have been traversing Zimbabwe, taken in tow by Mnangagwa.

Their duty; fill up grounds, respond to party slogans and hopefully increase Zanu PF’s chances at Zimbabwe’s upcoming polls.

Zimbabweans go for elections on August 23, and with an array of ‘accomplishments’ Mnangagwa has been taking the opportunity to hammer his successes and why he should be considered for a second term.

For Zanu PF the rallies have been a game of numbers, played between themselves and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

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