By Owen Gagare
HARARE – Government is upgrading its fleet of vehicles for security sector bosses and top civil servants, most of whom played a crucial role in ensuring Zanu PF won the July 31 elections.
This comes as the cash-strapped government has already splashed close to US$20 million on luxury cars including Mercedes-Benz and SUVs for 26 cabinet ministers, 13 ministers of state and 24 deputies.
The benefits and rewards for winning the elections have also trickled down to other arms of the state which played a sympathetic role to Zanu PF in the elections.
Senior officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army and top officials from other security organisations also got top-of-the-range vehicles soon after the elections. Officers from the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner were allocated double cab Ford Rangers.
“We are still to receive the latest BMWs,” said a senior officer. “Remember we should get big cars, in this case Ford Rangers which we got soon after the elections. The smaller cars are on the way.”
Car dealers in Harare are selling the Ford Ranger T6 3.2 Ltd 4×4 double cab (automatic) for amounts ranging from US$55 000 to US$60 000.
Senior police officers campaigned for Zanu PF at police stations countrywide in the run-up to the elections. They ensured all spouses of police officers, their children, relatives and all those staying at police stations were registered.
Government has also rewarded officials from the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office headed by Tobaiwa Mudede with similar cars.
The RG’s Office played a critical role in the election as it conducted voter registration, widely condemned as chaotic, but efficient in Zanu PF strongholds, on behalf of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The RG’s Office is also said to have allegedly worked with an Israeli intelligence company, Nikuv, to doctor the voters’ roll, resulting in many registered voters failing to find their names on the roll, especially in urban areas where the MDC-T traditionally enjoys massive support.
The voters’ roll was contentious, amid charges it was shambolic and had many double entries and thousands of dead people. Mudede, who is also the Registrar of Voters, failed to supply an electronic copy of the voters roll to the MDC formations and other parties which contested the elections.
“Provincial Registrars were given double cab Ford Rangers while district registrars received single cab rangers. Senior officials from the head office also benefited from the scheme,” an impeccable source said.
Provincial and district administrators, who were responsible for mobilising chiefs and other traditional leaders for the Zanu PF cause, have also received new vehicles.
The splurging on vehicles comes at a time Zimbabwe is facing acute food shortages and a severe liquidity crunch. Service delivery has also crumbled with water and electricity shortages being the order of the day. Zimbabwe Independent