By Staff Reporter
GOVERNMENT has turned to the ridiculous promise of rice handouts to traditional chiefs and those who shall help register the most number of prospective voters per district as locals continue to shun the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise.
Addressing a chiefs conference in Bulawayo Friday, Justice Minister Happyton Bonyongwe (pictured) promised to dole out 30 tonnes of the cereal ostensibly as an incentive to districts that work harder than the rest.
“…As a Ministry we want to see people registering to vote,” Bonyongwe said.
“Everyone should go out and register as voters. The district that will register the highest number of voters per province will receive rice which amounts to 30 tonnes.
“So in 10 provinces, it will be equivalent to 300 tonnes. It’s now a competition, let’s encourage people to register as voters. So if you become number one that is the price that is coming your way.”
Bonyongwe was one of the Zanu PF ministers who were lined up Friday to address traditional chiefs during their Bulawayo conference.
Since the BVR process started 14 September this year, only a million Zimbabweans have since registered.
The controversial decision to distribute free rice however spotlights on Zanu PF’s alleged vote buying gimmicks which saw government this week pledge to acquire 226 brand new Isuzu twin cab vehicles to chiefs.
The distribution of rice, seed, fertiliser and other goodies is an old Zanu PF patronage tool which has invited scorn from opponents who accuse their main rival of dipping into state coffers to entice voters.
Bonyongwe took with him Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chair Rita Makarau, who is under fire for allegedly failing to shield the election management authority from alleged perceived capture by Zanu PF officials operating under the guise of pursuing government business.
Although said to be independent, ZEC still relies on an entirely Zanu PF led government for its operational needs and policy direction.