ZANU PF candidates who lost in the 23 August 2023 harmonised elections have accused the party’s Harare provincial leadership of disrespecting them. These accusations came after the party threatened to involve the police in retrieving campaign vehicles from losing candidates who did not comply with a circular instructing them to surrender the cars.
The candidates maintain that they were not defying the party’s directive to return the cars they used during the campaigns but wanted to discuss the matter with higher-ranking officials before deciding. Some candidates felt disrespected by how the directive was communicated through social media and believed personal engagement should have been pursued.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, some candidates who lost in the recent elections claimed the party was ungrateful and quick to punish them. They believed they had worked hard to reduce the margin of defeat against the Citizens’ Coalition for Change in urban areas.
An internal circular listed several candidates, including Godwin Gomwe, Spencer Machangara, Kiven Mutimbanyoka, Tauya Mauka, Tatenda Mukwena, Mike Mashonganyika, Witness Zinyama, Offard Muchuwe, Muchineripi Chamatowa, and Tellmore Mujavhura, among others, who allegedly defied the directive. According to the circular, only eight out of the 26 losing Zanu PF parliamentary candidates had returned their vehicles by October 5.
Tauya Mauka who contested the Kuwadzana West constituency told NewZimbabwe.com that he was not defiant but was only following proper procedure to return the car. He is cited as saying:
"I am not refusing with the car but you have to understand how l got it in the first place. These are not our personal vehicles, we were given by the party and we will eventually surrender them…it’s not a difficult thing to comply.
The problem is as if we committed an offence, we didn’t commit a crime withholding them because others had representations and complaints they wanted to lodge. We felt we must be treated with respect having worked so hard to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election despite us losing."
ZANU PF distributed 210 branded vehicles, including Nissan Navaras and Ford Rangers, to its parliamentary representatives ahead of the 2023 political campaigns. However, the party instructed all losing candidates to return the vehicles. The directive, issued by ZANU PF Secretary General Obert Mpofu, stated that the vehicles must be surrendered to party headquarters by October 4. The future deployment of the vehicles is yet to be determined, with some potentially being allocated to elected party officials and others serving as pool cars for various party structures.