The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has condemned the propensity by political parties to use state resources to buy votes during elections.
ZESN’s position follows reports that the ruling ZANU PF party requested medicines from the Ministry of Health and Child Care for six clinics in Lupane East ahead of a by-election scheduled for August this year.
The statement by ZESN reads in part:
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While Zesn acknowledges the right of political parties to solicit for votes during the campaigning period, this act violates the principles of democracy.
The network does not condone the trend of vote-buying using food aid and other resources meant to benefit all citizens with no affiliation to a political party in line with the constitution.
… It is, therefore, disturbing to note that essential drugs and medicines, which should be readily available and accessible to every citizen, are now allegedly tied to a political party’s campaign for a National Assembly seat.
Critical for a free and fair electoral context is a pre-election environment devoid of irregularities and malpractices such as vote-buying and the misuse of
government resources where food aid such as maize and rice and other resources are being distributed along partisan lines.
This inevitably creates an uneven playing field for political contestants.