Opposition parties accuse minister Mahofa of inciting violence ahead of by-election
By a Correspondent
BIKITA- Opposition political parties and independent candidates participating in the January 21 Bikita west by-election have accused Masvingo provincial affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa of inciting violence ahead of the polls amid reports that some Zanu PF supporters also want her to step down due to ill-health.
Mahofa ignited an uproar at a campaign rally in the constituency last week when she said that all those gunning for the Bikita West parliamentary seat were “playing with faeces when there is not water” and vowed to deal with them ruthless.
Zimbabwe people first Masvingo provincial spokesman Jefferyson Chitando described Mahofa’s comments as unfortunate.
Chitando said Mahofa should resign given the fact that she was only appointment minister of Masvingo provincial Affairs not on merit but on patronage basis.
“She should resign because for a minister to incite violence is regrettable,”said Chitando.
Independent candidate Heya Shoko who is participating in the by-election said he has since asked his supporters to remain calm in view of the threats of violence by Mahofa.
“I am telling my supporters to even attend Zanu Pf meetings so that they will not be harassed,”said Shoko.
“The campaign period had been peaceful but since Mahofa ‘s remarks Zanu PF youths are threatening to beat up all political opponents in the constituency,”said Shoko.
Zimbabwe People First candidate Kudakwashe Gopo said he was not afraid of the threats but said he knew what Zanu PF is capable of doing in terms of violence.
“I am not afraid of these remarks but I know as a former Zanu PF member that the party is dangerous when it comes to violence,” he said.
Gopo is a former Zanu PF youth leader who is now with the Joyce Mujuru led Zimbabwe People First.
It has also emerged that some Zanu PF supporters also want Minister Mahofa to resign because of ill-health.
Mahofa has been sick for sometime and has resorted to giving her speeches at all public functions while seated.
Her office which was on the third floor at Benjamin Burombo building had to be relocated to the ground floor after the minister said she had difficulties in accessing her office.
“Mahofa should just resign because of ill-health,”said a Zanu Pf supporter only identified as Gamuchirai.
“We have several people in Zanu Pf who can take over because it does not make any sense to keep a minister who is ailing,”added Gamuchirai.
The Bikita West by-election fell vacant following the conviction and subsequent incarceration of Munyaradzi Kereke.
Six candidates will battle it out on January 21 in a by-election whose outcome is difficult to predict.