MUTOKO police on Saturday struggled to block restive Zanu PF supporters from walking out on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s campaign rally at Chizanga Primary School.
The police officers tried in vain to force the party supporters to remain seated until Mnangagwa had finished his address.
“I know you have walked long distances to come here, but just hold on until the leadership has gone,” a female senior party official shouted in a bid to force the defiant party supporters to sit down, but to no avail.
The crowd, less convincing by Zanu PF standards in rural areas, its traditional support base, looked less enthusiastic about Mnangagwa’s speech.
Mutoko is a known Zanu PF stronghold, recording shocking figures during past elections especially in the Uzumba, Maramba and Pfungwe areas, despite being one of the poorest districts in Mashonaland East province.
The crowd grew even more agitated after Mnangagwa left the stage and started walking away before the party’s politburo member Sydney Sekeremayi delivered the vote of thanks.
In his address, Mnangagwa seemed unfazed by the inattentive crowd and ploughed deep into his usual Biblical tirade promising to better citizens’ lives after next month’s presidential election and blamed the current cash shortages on sanctions imposed by the West.
“The town folk are better because they can use the swipe facility to make transactions, but for you, it is very difficult,” he said.
The Zanu PF candidate blamed the Western countries for sabotaging the local currency and rendering it valueless to punish the Zanu PF government for grabbing white-owned commercial land.
“When we took back the farms that had been previously occupied by the white people, they punished us by making sure our currency became useless,” he said.
Mnangagwa also blamed the imposed sanctions for the economic slump that the country has been experiencing for years.
“The sanctions killed our country,” he said.
The Zanu PF leader promised free access to primary healthcare for all citizens.
“The Health minister (David Parirenyatwa) is very passionate about health, but he overdoes it at times. He forgets that the resources should go to other areas as well. But we support him.”
Mnangagwa also revealed that the Chinese government had pledged more than $600m for construction of Kunzvi Dam, that was approved by government in 1996, but failed to take off due to financial constraints.
“I heard the issue of Kunzvi-Musami Dam. When we went to China in April, we were given $680m for the construction of Kunzvi Dam,” he said.