One of Zimbabwe’s top politicians and controversial Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu says he lost his Umguza constituency in the 2000 parliamentary elections after some members of his campaign team had resorted to violence.
The admission by a Zanu PF Politburo member comes at a time his party has been accused of torture and illtreatment of opposition supporters during previous elections.
Zanu PF has also been accused of “spearheading a terror campaign in rural and urban areas” but the former ruling party has always refuted the allegations.
But Mpofu, who is the MP for Umguza, this week urged his supporters to desist from violence. He was addressing Umguza Rural District councillors at the local authority’s offices in Bulawayo when he handed over $50 000 from the Constituency Development Fund.
The minister said there was no way he would lose the constituency again.
“I lost in this constituency in the 2000 elections and I went back to the drawing board. I no longer lose any sleep over this constituency because there is no way I will lose it again. I lost in 2000 and went back to my campaign team and told them that maybe they were violent to the voters,” he said.
Mpofu, who lost the constituency then to MDC’s Jacob Thabane, said it was not good to be voted for by people with bruises and broken limbs.
“Democracy is about tolerating other people’s political ideologies. There should be a divergence of views, but for you to win you do not have to be violent but to convince the people to join you. In politics I do not have any enemies but challenges.”
He called on the MDC-T dominated council to work together with other Zanu PF and MDC councillors in fostering development in the constituency.
“I am here to present the $50 000 development fund to you,” he said.
“I do not want to touch it but I want it to be part of your development programmes. I know some political parties are broke but please do not use it for political programmes.
“Let us not be confused and intoxicated by politics which will not bring development in our area. Let us not bring politics into the council chambers but work towards developing the district.”
During the meeting, the councillors called for the repair of schools in the constituency.
Currently, principals to the Global Political Agreement President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara are at loggerheads over creating a conducive atmosphere for holding a free and fair election in the country.