Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has reportedly been accused of distributing cups of "rotten and bitter rice" as part of its electioneering programme.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, the Lucia Mativenga led People's Democratic Party (PDP) claimed that the ruling party in Zhombe, Midlands province was giving villagers "rotten and bitter cups rice" ahead of this year's elections.
The PDP’s recently appointed deputy president, Benson Ntini told journalists in Bulawayo that Zanu-PF officials were abusing the villagers.
"A lot of people in the area are saying they are tired of this Zanu-PF abuse. As, PDP, we have been carrying out several community based projects in the area such as borehole rehabilitation. Zhombe faces a lot of water challenges and instead of giving out a mere cup of rotten rice, we expect the government to embark on sustainable projects for the community," Ntini was quoted as saying.
Zimbabwe was expected to go to the polls before the end of July.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to hold fair elections to ensure Zimbabwe "engages the world as a qualified democratic state", according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.
Under ex-president Robert Mugabe, who had ruled since 1980, Zimbabwean elections were marred by vote rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition.
Mnangagwa was one of Mugabe's closest allies in the ruling Zanu-PF party, and he was accused of playing a key role in the authoritarian regime that left the economy in ruins.
Mugabe, 94, was forced to quit when the military took power and once-loyal Zanu-PF lawmakers launched impeachment proceedings against him.