Gweru,– The MDC-T has made astonishing claims its Gweru councillors were each offered $6 000 and a residential stand by Zanu PF if they voted for a ruling party candidate for city mayor.
MDC-T Midlands South chairperson Francisco Masendeke has since claimed party councillors were promised the handsome rewards if they voted for a Zanu PF preferred candidate.
He was speaking at a press conference convened by the main opposition in Gweru on Friday.
Masendeke claimed the plot was masterminded by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also Zanu PF political commissar.
“Zanu PF tried to use their rigging tricks on our councillors but alas our councillors stood resolute and stood unwaveringly for the party.
“Our councillors reported that they were promised $6 000 and a residential stand each if they vote for Chapfukira who is a Zanu PF elected candidate to take the mayoral seat,” Masendeke said.
In an interview with one of the MDC-T councillors who pleaded for anonymity for fear of victimisation by Kasukuwere, the councillor admitted to haing received the offer which he said he turned down.
“Yes I received a $6 000 offer from Zanu PF officials including an undisclosed residential stand from the high density suburb of Gweru,” said the MDC-T councillor.
However, the alleged bribe attempt fell through when the MDC-T councillors voted for one of their own to the posts of mayor and his deputy.
Charles Chikozho garnered 10 votes to defeat Zanu-PF’s candidate Simon Chapfukira who managed six votes.
Charles Simbi of Zanu PF also lost the deputy mayor’s contest by the same margin to Willard Ndaguta of MDC-T.
The MDC-T has 10 councillors while Zanu-PF has six councillors at Town House, a sign the councillors remained loyal to their parties.
This development followed the axing of Hamutendi Kombayi and Kenneth Sithole for alleged abuse of office, gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs in line with recommendations made by a tribunal chaired by Masvingo lawyer Isaiah Shumba.
The position of deputy mayor fell vacant following the death of Artwell Matyorauta last year.
Kasukuwere could not be reached for comment but a Zanu PF Gweru official who preferred to remain anonymous dismissed the allegations as mere political statements.