Pamela Shumba Chronicle Reporter
THE death of Bulawayo councillor, Mackenzie Sibanda, has sparked controversy in MDC-T structures in Makokoba constituency with some party members alleging his opponents in the party poisoned him. Councillor Sibanda (80), who represented Ward 8, died on Thursday evening at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), a day after his admission complaining of breathing problems.
Angry party members walked into Chronicle newsroom on Monday fuming over the death of Clr Mackenzie, saying he was killed by his opponents.
They also accused Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and provincial chairman for Bulawayo, Mr Gorden Moyo of not doing much to stem problems afflicting the province.
They vowed not to vote for Mr Moyo in the forthcoming elections, saying he did not care about the welfare of the people in the constituency as evidenced by his failure to attend Clr Sibanda’s burial on Sunday.
One of the members, Ms Simiso Ndlovu from Mzilikazi said the death of Clr Mackenzie had revealed their leaders’ true colours.
“Clr Mackenzie died mysteriously. He started vomiting blood after attending a funeral in the area. We were shocked because his opponent, a drunkard from Mzilikazi had threatened to fix him if he did not withdraw from the primary elections.
“To make matters worse Mr Moyo planned to go ahead with the elections at McDonald Hall while the rest of us were mourning Clr Sibanda. We have since decided not to vote for him in the harmonised elections because he can never do anything for us,” said Ms Ndlovu.
She accused Ms Khupe of imposing Mr Moyo on the people of Makokoba.
“Mr Moyo does not know anything about Makokoba. He was brought to us by Thokozani Khupe. We were so embarrassed to see Tshinga Dube and Governor Angeline Masuku from Zanu-PF attending the burial of Sibanda while Ms Khupe and Mr Moyo were nowhere to be seen.
“These people must know that this is not chieftainship that is inherited. We will vote for the right people. I could not believe that Ms Khupe was doing this because it is Clr Sibanda’s campaigning that made her win the Makokoba seat in 2008,” said Ms Ndlovu.
Another member, Ms Gladys Moyo said Ward 8 had become a stepping stone for MDC-T members who wanted to pursue politics.
“Bahlala betshelana ukuthi abantu be Makokoba abafundanga, ungabathengela inhloko bayakuvotela. Bazavotelwa zinhloko zabo. (These people are always telling each other that we are uneducated and they can buy us with food. We will not vote for them). Mr Moyo will see that it is us
residents who are important, not the few people from the structures that he is always inviting to his house for tea,” said Ms Moyo.
“There is no democracy in MDC-T. They are always accusing Zanu-PF of violence but they are murderers. How can we be happy when our councillor dies just like that and they pretend as if nothing happened? Now Mr Moyo is always holding meetings at his Famona house while Tshinga Dube is busy campaigning.
“UMoyo asimfuni ngoba ngumakoti owalethwa nguMaKhupe singamcelanga. (We do not want Mr Moyo because he was imposed by Ms Khupe),” fumed Ms Moyo.
Clr Sibanda’s family acknowledged that relations were bad between him and an aspiring candidate.
Speaking at their Mzilikazi home yesterday, Clr Sibanda’s wife, Elizabeth confirmed that his opponents were always threatening him over the council elections.
“He was always receiving threats from his opponents telling him not to contest against them. He actually told me that the threats were now frustrating him and I tried to convince him to quit but he said he could not do that because he was chosen by the people,” said Mrs Sibanda.
His grandson, Mr Bongani Sibanda said he chased away one of his grandfather’s opponents from the funeral because of her remarks over the elections.
“One of the opponents confronted me and asked me why my grandfather did not want to give up politics and I told her to leave me alone. When she came to the funeral, I simply told her to go back to her house because she was not welcome,” said Mr Sibanda.
Contacted for comment, Mr Moyo said he did not attend Clr Sibanda’s burial because he was attending his sister’s funeral.
“I lost my younger sister last week and when Clr Sibanda was being buried, I was also attending her burial. All bona fide party members are aware of that.
“I can only be at one place at a time. I am grieving my sister and that is all I can say for now,” said Mr Moyo.