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ZANU-PF Accused of Forcing Local Firms to Sponsor Party's Anti-Sanctions Campaign

Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF party is reportedly coercing and blackmailing private companies to support its anti-sanctions drive, this time a dinner and a concert featuring international artistes like U.S.-based Haitian musician Wycleaf Jean, Mali’s Salif Keita and rhumba legends Kofi Olomide and Yondo Sister, among others.

Firms are being asked to contribute $100,000 each in what some corporate executives have described as extortion.

The independent Newsday reported that an entertainment company, Yedu Nesu, has been contracted by ZANU-PF to organize the event to be held next month.

According to the Newsday, the company has been given permission by the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity to approach individuals and companies for support. Also lined up to perform at the concert are South Africa’s Rebecca Malope and top Zimbabwean artistes.

Information Minister Webster Shamu confirmed the development to Newsday, saying: "That is confirmed. There are no qualms on the issue of sanctions, we are going all out until people are aware that sanctions are illegal; that they are not sanctioned by the United Nations and are meant to reverse the gains we made through the land reform exercise."

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, however, denied his party was coercing or blackmailing companies and individuals to cough up for the bash.

Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that companies and individuals were freely contributing towards the anti-sanctions concert and snapping up tables at the dinner which are going for $1,000 each.

Political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that it was impossible that private companies were willingly footing the ZANU-PF anti-sanctions programs.