TENDAI Biti’s PDP has started in earnest to put party national structures in place ahead of the 2018 elections with the planned appointment of shadow local councillors across the country.
“PDP is set to hold elections for its shadow local councillors across the country,” party secretary general Gorden Moyo (pictured) said in a statement on Friday.
“The party is intending to have shadow councillors in all the 1958 wards in Zimbabwe by the end of February 2016.”
Moyo said the deployment of shadow councillors in all the country’s wards shall help monitor the abuse of food handouts by pro-Zanu PF traditional leaders.
Traditional leaders have been accused of denying opposition supporters handouts and agro-based inputs sourced by NGOs and through government initiatives as punishment for “wrong” political choices.
“Therefore, PDP shadow councillors are poised to become the voice of the discriminated, the poor and the food distressed communities,” Moyo said.
“The PDP shadow councillors will also take interest in the way chiefs treat their subjects.”
Over the years, chiefs have been glutted with material privileges such as motor vehicles, electricity, piped water, tractors, farms, mobile phones as well as monthly salaries and allowances by the current Zanu PF government.
PDP said its shadow councillors shall be tasked with the responsibility of challenging their excesses.
“Thus, our shadow councillors will form the backborne of the party’s activities in the rural areas where 70% of the population resides and where Zanu PF is a dominant negative force,” Moyo said.
“It is broadly known that it takes advantage of the unfortunate circumstances of the people such as poverty, low levels of education and absence of independent media.
“PDP intends to counter this by developing a strong alternative voice to challenge this hegemonic negative force of Zanu PF.”
PDP comprises a group of former MDC-T politicians who split from the party 2014 to operate as MDC Renewal Team.
They were protesting current MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s alleged dictatorial tendencies and barren leadership which saw the once popular opposition’s fortunes take a knock as evidenced by the shock 2013 poll defeat.
Since then, PDP has been trying to set up structures to give it national presence.
The intended deployment of shadow councillors, although the party says was an attempt to keep an eye on pro-Zanu PF traditional leaders who have been used as surrogate Zanu PF commissars, gives it the opportunity to restore national representation.
The country is slowly approaching crunch national polls in 2018 which many feel shall also witness the end the near 92 year old President Robert Mugabe’s lengthy rule regardless of the outcome.