BULAWAYO – The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC on Wednesday suspended three Victoria Falls councillors for allegedly receiving bribes from Transport minister and Umguza legislator Obert Mpofu during the mayoral elections two months ago.
Ritchie Mguni of Ward 5, Norris Nyathi, Ward 7 and Ward 8 councillor Robson Salimu were suspended from the party after a thorough probe.
“We have now suspended three sitting councillors from the party on the strong evidence we have after thorough investigations that they voted for a Zanu PF candidate during mayoral elections after receiving bribes from Mpofu,” MDC Matabeleland North provincial chairman Sengezo Tshabangu told the Daily News.
Tshabangu said the trio will appear before a disciplinary committee in the next seven days.
During the mayoral elections MDC had seven councillors in Victoria Falls while Zanu PF had three but Sifiso Mpofu of Zanu PF was elected mayor, meaning that some MDC councillors voted for him.
“We don’t expect such kind of behaviour. Worse still these are officials of the party not just ordinary members,” added Tshabangu.
Mpofu recently denied bribing the three councillors saying he had “never met them”.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo recently said the Zanu PF government would continue to work with the mayors and councillors should they be expelled from the MDC.
Three weeks ago MDC gained another council seat in Victoria Falls after Somveli Dhlamini won a council by-election in Ward 9 beating Sambulo Mpofu of Zanu PF by 31 votes, Atient Ncube of the smaller MDC by 176 and Zapu contestant White Julius Willard Phiri by 233 votes.
In recent weeks, the MDC has threatened to sack more officials who defied party instructions during the elections which saw some of the MDC councillors voting for Zanu PF candidates in towns such as Mutare, Kwekwe and Redcliff.
Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi and four councillors have also been suspended for allegedly defying the party directions in mayoral elections.