ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are this weekend poised for a bruising battle for control of urban and rural councils amidst allegations that the ruling party’s c
ouncillors in Bulawayo have reduced the price of maize in a vote-buying bid.
Both parties have vowed they will secure a majority of the seats in elections that begin tomorrow countrywide.
The cities of Mutare, Gweru and Kwekwe are holding mayoral and council elections while other towns and centres will only elect councillors.
MDC director of elections Remus Makuwaza said his party would win most of the seats if Zanu PF does not intimidate voters.
“The MDC can win anywhere in the country,” said Makuwaza. “As long as the elections are peaceful we are going to win not only in urban areas but even in the rural areas that people say are Zanu PF strongholds,” Makuwaza said.
Meanwhile in Makonde where Zanu and MDC are fielding candidates in a parliamentary by-election, members of the notorious Zanu PF Top Six gang earlier this week attacked the MDC election agent, Joseph Mutsvangwa.
They are said to have stolen $34 000 and a bag containing important election-related material.
“A report was made to the police, and the culprits were arrested with the assistance of members of the Police Support Unit, but they were later released,” the MDC said in a statement.
The MDC is fielding Japhet Karemba while Kindness Paradza will represent Zanu PF.
In Gweru the MDC has accused Zanu PF of ferrying voters from rural constituencies into the city to vote. Provincial campaign manager Jacob Mlambo said yesterday that DDF trucks were being used to ferry rural voters into Gweru urban.
“More than 1 000 voters have already been ferried into Gweru urban for the purpose of rigging,” said Mlambo. “The people are staying at Mpumelelo Primary School as well as Gweru Technical College, whilst others are at houses belonging to Zanu PF officials. These people are on a supplementary roll which the MDC doesn’t have access to.”