BY BLESSED MHLANGA
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has spread its tentacles to include a probe into vote-buying allegations raised by the opposition MDC in the just-ended parliamentary by-elections.
MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende, whose party has accused the ruling Zanu PF of engaging in vote-buying activities, particularly in Lupane East and Glen View South by-elections, said his party had been invited to provide evidence to Zacc.
“We are happy that Zacc has shown interest in investigating the allegations of vote-buying that have been the order of the day in the recent by-elections. In Lupane East, ministers connived to release medicines for campaign purposes and we raised these issues, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) did not act,” Hwende said.
He said he had handed over letters written by Zanu PF political commissar and Defence deputy minister Victor Matemadanda to Health minister Obadiah Moyo and the response showing a paper trail of abuse of power.
“Corruption also involves abuse of power. Using government resources to buy votes and attain power is corruption and this becomes a litmus test for Zacc on whether they are serious or not and we are prepared to give them a chance,” he said.
In its final report on the Glen View South and Mangwe by-elections, Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) also raised concern over vote-buying, accusing Zanu PF of electoral malpractices.
“However, other forms of malpractices were observed. In Glen View South, Zesn was concerned with the timing of the drilling of 15 boreholes by the District Development Fund (DDF), which Zanu PF seemingly took advantage of during its campaigns ahead of a by-election as the party was observed officiating at some of the boreholes in the constituency,” the electoral watchdog report read.
“DDF trucks carrying borehole rigs were observed moving in convoys with vehicles carrying Zanu PF supporters in their full party regalia heading for the borehole drilling sites. Zanu PF also distributed rice in the constituency until a day before the election. This amounts to vote-buying or an attempt to influence voting preferences with an effect to make the electoral playing field uneven.”
Zesn called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to investigate the allegations.
“Zesn implores the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of vote-buying that were reported in the Glen View South by-election, as well as in previous by-elections that were held post 2018 harmonised elections,” the Zesn report read in part.
Zacc spokesperson John Makamure had, by the time of going to print, not yet responded to questions sent to him early this week.