It was supposed to be a rally to woo first-time voters, but it turned into a chaotic scene of looting and frustration as hungry Zanu-PF supporters helped themselves to a truckload of mealie meal that was meant to be a gift from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The president had addressed a crowd of loyalists at Mucheke stadium in Masvingo, where he was accompanied by several trucks filled with 10kg packets of the staple food. He had assured them that everyone would get a share of the mealie meal, courtesy of his generosity and benevolence.
However, as soon as he and his entourage left the venue, the trucks also started to leave, leaving behind a disappointed and angry crowd that felt cheated and betrayed by their leader. Some of them claimed that they had heard that the trucks were heading to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot in Masvingo, where they suspected that the mealie meal would be distributed among the local party elites.
Not willing to let go of their promised reward, some of the supporters chased after the last truck and managed to stop it. They then climbed on top of it and ripped off the tent covering the mealie meal. They began throwing the packets into the air, creating a frenzy of grabbing and fighting among the crowd.
Some of the looters shouted that they were only taking what was rightfully theirs, as the president had said. Others watched with envy as they missed out on the free food. Some expressed their dismay at the local leadership, accusing them of sabotaging the president and his 5 million votes target by angering the voters.
“They are lying to the president. They are stealing from us. They are not giving us what he promised us,” one of them said.
Another one said that the trucks were just a gimmick to lure them to the rally and make them believe that the president cared about them.
“This is a trick. They never intended to give us anything. They just wanted us to come and listen to their lies. The same thing happened in Chiredzi when the First Lady came. She brought some trucks with food but they never gave it to us,” another one said.
Some social media users who saw the video of the looting on TellZim News Twitter account mocked the supporters for being gullible and desperate. They said that this was a sign of how bad things had become under Mnangagwa’s rule, where people had to resort to stealing food from their own party.