MDC-T yesterday accused Zanu PF of bribing councillors to vote for its mayors in Victoria Falls, Redcliff and Kwekwe as the party sought answers to the shocking turn of events on Monday.
The MDC-T-dominated Mutare council also voted for a Zanu PF candidate for deputy mayor.
MDC-T deputy organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe said Zanu PF was cashing in on the poverty of Zimbabweans to corrupt its elected officials.
He said at least three MDC-T councillors in Victoria Falls have been fingered in the scandal that is likely to worsen fissures in the party already haunted by divisions attributed to its poor performance during the July 31 elections.
“We have heard about the issue of bribes and necessary steps are being taken to nip that in the bud,” Bhebhe said.
“It is now clear why Zanu PF would not allow anyone to go to Chiadzwa because they were keeping the money from there that they are using,” Bhebhe said.
“Former Finance minister Tendai Biti said it time and again when he was still minister that diamond money was not being remitted to the government.
“Zanu PF believes that Zimbabwe should have poor citizens whom they could always manipulate.”
He dismissed speculation the revolt by the MDC-T councillors was influenced by the party’s attempts to impose mayoral candidates.
“Let’s assume there is this imagined internal fight; how do you fix your counterpart by selling your struggle to the enemy?
“We are thus teaching people that they should not allow poverty and sell their souls,” he said. “They should be poor, but have pride.”
MDC-T Matabeleland North chairperson Sengezo Tshabangu yesterday told Southern Eye they had identified the three councillors who voted for Zanu PF in Victoria Falls after allegedly getting bribes.
Zanu PF’s Sifiso Mpofu is the new mayor of Victoria Falls after garnering six votes ahead of MDC-T’s Margaret Valley who got four. Zanu PF won three council seats in the recent national elections with MDC-T winning seven.
“We can confirm that there was a case of bribery,” he said.
“However, we cannot substantiate the amount now, but we know them. There are three councillors who voted a Zanu PF candidate,” Tshabangu said.
“They acted in violation of party regulations and we will use everything in our disposal to bring them to book.
“The party will clamp down on those three as they were involved in an act of gross indiscipline. No amount of money should sway the party from its principles.”
Tshabangu said MDC-T was aware that some councillors went on to nominate themselves in the election.
“We know of not only those councillors who voted Zanu PF but those who at the election, nominated themselves moving away from the candidates that had been nominated by the party,” he said.
Besides Victoria Falls, one of MDC-T councillors in Kwekwe voted for Zanu PF’s Matenda Madzoke who landed the mayoral post despite the two parties having seven council seats each.
In Redcliff, Zanu PF’s Freddy Kapuya also beat MDC-T candidate Takura Chikwiri despite the fact that MDC-T has seven seats to Zanu PF’s two.
In Mutare, the MDC-T-dominated council voted for Zanu PF’s Collen Mukwada as city deputy mayor. MDC-T has 13 wards in the city while Zanu PF has six.
Zanu PF national spokesman Rugare Gumbo was not immediately available to comment on the MDC-T allegations.
However, the party’s deputy director for information Psychology Maziwisa dismissed Bhebhe’s claims as baseless and malicious.
“What can you expect them to say? They are bitter losers and will say anything to give credence to their claims that elections were not fair,” he said.
“Some members of the MDC-T, frustrated by lack of credible leadership, voted for the right party which is Zanu PF.”