By Anna Chibamu
IT was yet another bumper crowd for President Emmerson Mnangagwa where Zanu PF supporters attended the Mashonaland Central provincial rally in Centenary over the weekend.
Hundreds of buses and lorries brought supporters from all corners of the province who each received a loaf of bread (ED Loaf) and party regalia.
The Centenary Country Club grounds were all green, red, yellow and black as crowds cheered for the ruling party First Secretary.
The supporters chanted party songs welcoming Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa who arrived aboard a helicopter which landed at a distance from the rally venue.
The First couple was brought to the grounds by the Presidential motorcade.
When the motorcade pulled at the event site, the supporters stood up and danced to the popular party song…”Tsepete, Tsepete, pana Mnangagwa”.
Some, still feasting on the bread which was used to woo supporters, danced seemingly enjoying both the bread and the moment.
Thereafter, President Mnangagwa was introduced to the crowd by his Vice, Constantino Chiwenga.
In his introductions, the President wasted no to time and thanked the people of Mashonaland Central for their loyalty to Zanu PF for over 40 years.
Mnangagwa honoured the province for helping the nation in the fight against the imperialists during the liberation war.
“Today, the democracy, peace and independence we enjoy is all because of the people in this province.
“I felt we must honour the people of Mashonaland Central.
“For 40 years, Zanu PF has enjoyed a 100% vote from the people in this province. No one has done this before. Mashonaland Central is the best in terms of voting. Congratulations!” he said.
Dubbed the “Zanu PF stronghold” and a “no go area for opposition” by many, the province still lags behind in terms of development.
Roads are patched and the Harare-Mukumbura highway is yet to be reconstructed after decades of promises by the late former President Robert Mugabe.
The Second Republic has promised to redo the road characterised by potholes, damaged bridges and gravel as one goes further towards the border with Mozambique.
In his address, Mnangagwa, like his predecessor also promised to build roads, schools.
He brought computers for some schools in the province.
During interviews with newzimbabwe.com after the rally ended, most of the youths expressed disappointment on how government projects were being personalised by government officials denying them access to opportunities on offer.
“We are going home empty-handed. We were promised many projects by the government but to this day, young people are being side-lined.
“Today, we did not even receive the popular ‘ED loaf’ and party regalia yet we have posts in our party structures,” a young women said.
She refused to be recorded.
“No, you cannot record us because we will be victimised,” she added.
Another young mother with a baby strapped on her back said, “l had to come and witness this great event. I enjoyed the day because l received a loaf of bread and Zanu PF regalia. I just wanted to have a feel of the event. Ndafara kuona President Mnangagwa but I will vote for a leader of my choice. This is my secret and my husband will not even know whom l will vote on 23 August,” the woman said.
During his speech, the President expressed hopes for a better Zimbabwe as he castigated the Western-imposed sanctions and the effects on the country’s socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.
“We have sanctions that have been imposed by the enemies. Down with them, they want to cause disturbances after creating problems for us.
“They want Zimbabweans to rebel against the government. That will not happen. We have the right to control our legacy. No one has the history of the revolution party Zanu PF,” he said warning political rivals to forget about ruling Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa faces opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Nelson Chamisa and 10 other Presidential candidates in the August 23 elections.
Among other issues, Mnangagwa told the gathering that the government would continue supporting artisanal miners to benefit from the country’s gold mining sector initiatives.
He warned young people to desist from drugs and substance abuse.
Mnangagwa’s rallies have taken him to provinces such as Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West and Manicaland, where he launched his manifesto.