INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo has accused the MDC-T of trying to bribe Tsholotsho North voters with mealie meal and elephant meat ahead of tomorrow’s by-election, inviting scorn from the main opposition party.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Moyo, the former independent MP for the constituency, will tomorrow seek to recapture the seat after he narrowly lost to former MDC-T MP Roselyn Nkomo in 2013. Nkomo was fired for joining the MDC Renewal Team.
The minister is contesting against two little-known independent candidates Busani Ncube and Getrude Sibanda, he accuses of being MDC-T proxies.
He told Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko on Sunday ahead of a rally at Mbiriya Primary School that the MDC-T had employed unorthodox campaign tactics in the constituency.
The MDC-T is boycotting all the by-elections demanding poll reforms and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai held rallies including in Tsholotsho urging his supporters to stay away.
“The MDC has been campaigning for independent candidates. They decided to come over the last week and distributed mealie-meal to villagers,” Moyo claimed.
“They also slaughtered an elephant and they have been feeding villagers that meat in the hope of getting votes.”
Moyo said hunger was stalking villagers owing to poor harvests following poor rains and indicated that “there are therefore questions as to how the communities will be assisted” to prevent hunger-related deaths.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday denied the vote-buying allegations and claimed Moyo was running scared.
“That’s a pack of lies. Unlike the faction-ridden and collapsing Zanu PF party, the MDC doesn’t indulge in vote-buying,” he said.
“Where would we get an elephant from as the MDC? Poachers are found in Zanu PF and certainly not within the ranks of the democratic and law-abiding MDC.
“We are sure that Jonathan Moyo is sensing a humiliating defeat on June 10 and so he is desperately trying to clutch at straws by raising these false, ridiculous and outrageous allegations against the most popular political party in the country, the MDC,” Gutu added.
Ironically, Moyo has been accused by civil society groups and opposition parties of doling out Chinese-donated rice to villagers during his campaign rallies.
Traditional leaders are accused of coercing their subjects to vote for Moyo. The minister has previously denied the vote-buying accusations.
The government has also promised Tsholotsho villagers boreholes to alleviate water shortages, but the timing has raised eyebrows.