Consumers in Bindura, Zimbabwe, who spent Wednesday evening standing in line to buy sugar at the local TM supermarket went home empty-handed after Labor Minister Nicholas Goche swept in and purchased most of the consignment, apparently to sell to supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party, sources in Bindura charged.
Goche, seeking re-election to parliament for the Shamva North constituency, was said to have taken away some 200 two-kilogram packages of sugar as customers who had stood in line for the scarce commodity shouted disapproval. A package goes for Z$7.5 million (US$0.25) in the store, but fetches Z$17million on the black market.
Candidates of the ruling have been accused of buying political support with food and excluding those suspected of supporting the opposition from such largesse.
VOA could not confirm the incident with the supermarket or reach Goche for comment.
But Bindura resident Saymore Mhene told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that an opposition candidate for parliament demanded an explanation from a store manager who replied that he was unable to bar Goche's sugar grab.