ZANU PF’s populist antics went into overdrive yesterday when Home Affairs minister Ignatious Chombo stoped police from arresting vendors operating at undesignated sites in Epworth, where the ruling party is targeting victory in the September 19 by-election.
Chombo, the Zanu PF secretary for administration gave the order while addressing a campaign rally for party candidate Zalerah Makari at Epworth High School.
The Epworth seat fell vacant following the death of Amos Midzi (Zanu PF) on June 9 this year.
“I am the Minister of Home Affairs in charge of police. We will sit down and agree on places to sell your wares and if there is anyone caught on the wrong side then that person should be given a letter, but not to have his or her goods seized,” Chombo said.
He said he would soon engage Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere for the provision of additional vending space and other sites for small-income generating projects.
He, however, urged Zanu PF supporters not to go around threatening and insulting police officers on the basis that he gave his assurance that they will not be victimised.
Chombo also pledged improved service delivery, easy access to residential stands and electrification. He said three nearby farms had already been annexed for the expansion of the settlement.
Chombo is not new to making populist pronouncements especially towards elections. In the run-up to the July 31, 2013 elections, Chombo, who then was Local Government minister, ordered all local authorities to write off residents’ water arrears as part of his Zanu PF campaign strategies. The councils obliged, but were left financially crippled with some still struggling to recover from the effects of his directive.