Zanu PF youth league secretary for legal affairs Phineas Makombe (pictured) who is eyeing Gweru urban ward 18 as a councillor has started rebuilding a Mtapa house gutted by fire last Saturday in what critics say is a campaign tactic, Business Times has established.
The campaign move, the first of its kind in the Midlands capital by a party youth activist, has reportedly unsettled other contestants for the seat.
When Business Times visited the destroyed house in Mtapa section 3 yesterday, builders were busy at the scene with cement, bricks, doors and windows already in place.
Zanu PF party members took to social media praising Makombe saying the current crop of candidates had departed from yesteryear strategies of vote buying through beer and food among other perishable goods.
“Such rapid response where human life is concerned is what we yearn for in our leadership,” said party member Anesu Marima.
“Cde Makombe and Cde (Alex) Mukwembi (Gweru Urban) parliamentary seat candidate last week repaired a broken down borehole at Mtapa restoring water to the community.”
Another party activist Stephen Mawadze said the new strategies, particularly by youth candidates, would wrestle power from the opposition Citizens Coalition Change-dominated urban council seats.
“The rise and thrust of young political players in Zanu PF will unsettle and shake CCC,” he said.
Contacted for comment Makombe said the house building gesture was not vote buying but a show of “responsible leadership.”
“If you want to serve people as a councillor you must demonstrate that you are a hands-on person,” he said.
“You must first improve the lives of people in your community as you gear up to fight for the improvement of service delivery.
“The opposition CCC has totally failed in that regard. We have no water, refuse is not collected, there are no public lights and roads are littered with potholes.”
The CCC , however, maintained that urban areas are its stronghold and Zanu PF posed no threat ahead of the general elections scheduled for this year.
The opposition party also accuses the Zanu PF-led central government for interference in local authorities which it says affects the smooth provision of service delivery.