Political temperatures are rising ahead of the Kariba Ward 5 by-election pencilled for Saturday, amid accusations by the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) that a top Zanu-PF official dished out candy in order to lure voters.
Justice minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member Ziyambi Ziyambi reportedly handed out mint-flavoured sweets to mostly women attending a mini-rally held in Mahombekombe Suburb, last Saturday.
During the event, the minister also warned the electorate against voting CCC or face risk of the ruling party blocking development to the perennially marginalised but iconic location built during construction of Kariba Dam.
Said Ziyambi at the event: “Vote wisely because development doesn’t need people to throw away votes. Electing CCC is throwing away votes as they are not responsible for allocating resources. If you realise lack of development in this place, Mahombekombe, blame yourselves because you would have thrown away votes by choosing a CCC candidate.”
Responding to Ziyambi’s utterances, CCC interim provincial spokesperson, Blessing Mandava said the minister takes the electorate for fools, hence he threw sweets at them instead of championing sustainable livelihoods.
“Ziyambi was busy giving out trinkets to hoodwink the electorate, which he takes for fools. No wonder why he dished out mint sweets at the Mahombekombe rally, as if the mint sweets will develop the ward,” charged Mandava.
“His recent remarks clearly show that Zanu-PF is worried of its impending loss in the Kariba Ward 5 by-election. They have now resorted to intimidation and empty threats in a frantic bid to boost their waning fortunes.
“Admitting that Zanu-PF has been throwing spanners into local government, we now know how stupid he really is. His claims that only a Zanu-PF candidate will bring development to Mahombekombe are pure hogwash and utter rhetoric which can easily pass as beer talk. Evidence is awash of Zanu-PF’s mismanagement of the whole nation. How can a destroyer rebuild what he has destroyed?”
He added: “As the Mash West Change Champions, we are boldly declaring that Kariba Ward 5 shall not kowtow to threats. The people shall speak, we urge them to rise early, vote early and defend their vote.”
The by-election is set to fill a vacancy left behind following the resignation of then CCC councillor, Tendai Mapondera, over criminal abuse of office charges.
CCC is fielding Tonderai Chikwati to replace her, while Zanu-PF candidate Kudakwashe Mafusire is gunning for the post.
Kariba Urban constituency has nine wards, in which CCC has eight and Zanu-PF only one.