The draft constitution agreed to by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has given Mugabe’s party a new source of potential voters: the aliens hitherto disenfranchised by the Lancaster House Constitution.

Interestingly, most of the so-called aliens hail from Malawi—a country where Muslims are 17% of the population— and now Mugabe’s party is eagerly wooing the Muslims, thanks to a provision in the draft charter which guarantees immigrants a right to vote.

Zanu PF number four Didymus Mutasa on Sunday engaged hundreds of the Islamic faith in Mutare and his message was “vote for Zanu PF.”

“My mission is to visit different church people asking them to vote for Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe. In other words, we are campaigning for President Mugabe in different religions,” said Mutasa.

“Many of you, some originally from Malawi, were not eligible to vote because you were regarded as aliens. But this new constitution allows you to vote. Go and register to vote.” Making a shocking somersault Mugabe, who once branded Muslims totem-less people with no right to vote, pleaded with the world’s second largest faith for its vote and for good measure promised them land and also benefits which will be reaped from the controversial economic empowerment programme which forces foreign entities to divest 51 percent of their shares to local Zimbabweans.

“Youths here said they want to be empowered. We have Redwing Mine here and you should claim a stake there. Workers here should claim a stake at this mine than to just watch as the mine takes the gold to South Africa.

“You cannot talk about proceeds from Chiadzwa when you have Redwing. You also asked the government to recognise your type of dressing. We will talk to the Minister of Women’s Affairs. I am sure she will take it to the government so that dressing for the Islam women is recognised,” he said amid wild cheers.

For his efforts in courtship Mutasa was given a flattering promise. One of the Islamic leaders in Manicaland, Khaled Kassim Joosab, then promised Mutasa thousands of votes. He said Zanu PF should expect about 40 000 votes from members of the Islamic faith.

Officials from Mugabe’s Zanu PF have been making several forays into religious sects in a bid to woo potential voters ahead of a poll that promises to be grueling for the former ruling party.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are, however, yet to agree on poll dates and leaving time for a massive voter mobilisation

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