Bikita West by-election; a done deal, we used food to buy votes- Kasukuwere

Charles Mabhena

ZANU PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere has just confessed that his party has already secured the badly needed Bikita West seat through vote buying antics.

Kasukuwere yesterday told his party supporters at a rally held at Gwindingwi Secondary School in the Bikita that the party has used food and agricultural inputs so that it can win the election this coming Saturday. The rally was meant to drum up support for his party’s candidate.

“We have given you seed, we have given you fertiliser, and we have given you food, with all that in mind; as I see it we can certify the Bikita West seat a done deal. We have secured the seat,” he said.

He thanked the traditional leaders and ZANU PF structures in the area for the job well done in making sure that the party secures the seat.

Over the years, reports have come out that the ruling party uses traditional leaders to threaten and warn people that they shouldn’t vote for opposition parties.

In some instances opposition supporters have claimed being denied access to farming land as well as being labelled sell-outs who are bent on reversing the gains of independence, particularly the land reform programme.

Kasukuwere’s comments may have come as a surprise for others, as ZANU PF had previously vehemently denied using donated food and inputs as a way to buy voters, or ever to have had distributed such donated food items based on political grounds.

His disclosure now buttresses a point made by Norton independent Member of Parliament just few days ago. The MP who is a former senior ZANU PF official Temba Mliswa and has inside knowledge on how the party rig elections made sensational claims exposing ZANU PF for using food to buy the votes.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in 2016 produced a damning report that its findings have uncovered the massive politicising of food in the rural areas including Bikita East.

The contest for the seat comes as an acid test for the now ‘wounded elephant’ ZANU PF after it was humiliated by a defeat in the previous election in Norton, which was won by an independent candidate, this makes it a badly needed win by the ruling party. It has also seen politically motivated violence rearing its ugly hand with the attack of National Constitutional Assembly candidate Madock Chivasa by suspected members of ZANU PF party.