VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has unleashed Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on MDC-T councillors, accusing them of corruptly acquiring land.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters on Thursday ahead of today’s Norton by-election, Mnangagwa said he trusted Kasukuwere would weed out “corrupt” MDC-T elements.
“As Zanu PF, we have a fearless runner (Kasukuwere), whom if you set him on someone, as a leader, you can go to bed peacefully because you know he will do the task. He will deal with those corrupt MDC-T councillors,” he said.
“As government, we cannot tolerate a situation where councillors take land and do not even pay, yet they go about auctioning your properties for not paying for services that are not there.”
The VP said service delivery had collapsed in most local councils run by the MDC-T because of corruption and the ruling party will make sure that Kasukuwere deals decisively with the opposition councillors to end the rot and restore services to the residents.
Mnangagwa was mobilising support for the ruling party’s candidate, Ronald Chindedza, who will square up with independent candidate, Temba Mliswa and David Choga of the National Constitutional Assembly led by Lovemore Madhuku.
His order came after Kasukuwere claimed there was an MDC-T councillor identified as (Vitalis) Takawira (of Ward 11), who was very corrupt and had amassed a lot of land, which he has not paid for. Takawira is Mliswa’s campaign manager.
Kasukuwere told Mnangagwa that he has launched an investigation into the conduct of MDC-T councillors, not only in Norton, but all cities countrywide and the axe would fall on those implicated on corrupt deals.
Mnangagwa praised Kasukuwere and Kudzai Chipanga, the Zanu PF youth secretary, for dishing out stands to the people of Norton ahead of the by-election.
Zanu PF has applied all its arsenal in Norton against Mliswa, including violence, vote-buying and holding rallies almost every day for close to two weeks.
Kasukuwere denied that the issuing of stands was vote-buying. He claimed the party was simply implementing a directive by President Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile, election observers and monitors have already condemned the Norton by-election ahead of polling day.
They said the results would not be a true reflection of the will of the people because the pre-election period was marred by violence, allegations of vote-buying and voter intimidation.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), in a detailed report, noted a number of violations of the electoral laws, which included the use of stands to buy votes, failure by the police to meet legal electoral requirements and use of violence.
“Zesn is concerned by continued reports of violence, intimidation and vote buying using food aid, residential stands and farming inputs in Norton ahead of the by-election scheduled for this upcoming weekend,” part of the statement read.
Police are accused of failing to respond to cases of electoral violence, while Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) remained largely silent in the face of the violations.
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) also weighed in, condemning Zanu PF for serious electoral violations, by using government resources and institutions to win votes in Norton.
“To influence the Norton constituency, ahead of the rally, residents were issued with forms to register for the 5 000 Urban Development Corporation stands to be allocated along Sandringham Road … Zanu PF secretary for youths, Chipanga, reminded the youths to show their allegiance and gratitude on election day,” the organisation said.
National Electoral Reforms Agenda legal secretary, Douglas Mwonzora has already called on Zec to disqualify Chindedza.