THE politicisation of food aid ahead of the Bikita West by-election has reportedly intensified with opposition National Constitutional Assembly candidate, Madock Chivasa, accusing Zanu PF of using the scarce resource to buy votes.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Chivasa said opposition supporters were being intimidated and denied food aid by Zanu PF candidate, Beauty Chabaya and Bikita South MP, Jeppy Jaboon.
“There are threats of violence from the Zanu PF candidate and MP for Bikita South, Jeppy Jaboon. They address meetings threatening that if people don’t vote for Zanu PF, they will be beaten or even killed like what happened in 2008,” he said.
“Chabaya is giving out rice, seed and maize at rallies. Headmen are also being instructed to list people in their villages and take the names to polling stations on voting day. This is done to give an impression that Zanu PF will get to know the voting patterns.”
But, Jaboon, who is also the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial political commissar, yesterday denied the charges, accusing opposition candidates of seeking to soil the ruling party’s image.
“That is not true. The opposition is just after misinforming the world. They just want to portray an image that we are a violent party. They have no people at all in the constituency,” he retorted, adding Zanu PF was confident of retaining the constituency.
The Bikita West seat, which fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke was jailed for rape in July, has attracted six contestants.
These are Chivasa, Chabaya, Zimbabwe People First candidate, Kudakwashe Gopo, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Tanyaradzwa Makumbo and two independents, Heya Shoko and Innocent Muzvimbiri.
The by-election is set for January 21 next year.