17 September 2008
Mtiti accused of using govt tractors to campaign
Stories by Sabelo Mamba
MINISTER of Agriculture and Co-operatives Mtiti Fakudze, who won the primary elections at Mdumezulu chiefdom, is alleged to have unlawfully campaigned using government tractors.
This is reflected in an application filed at the High Court by four aspiring Members of Parliament, who are seeking an order declaring the primary elections at Mdumezulu chiefdom under Dvokodvweni Constituency null and void.
One of the aspiring MPs Joel Dlamini, in his affidavit, argues that the elections for the chiefdom were not free and fair since Fakudze who is still a cabinet minister used government tractors and other agricultural machinery to campaign. Dlamini says as a result there were a lot of tractors parked at strategic points at the constituency to convince voters that he was the obvious choice "who has the means of production."
He says the elections were also irregular in that on August 18, 2008 before the primary elections date, an illegal political meeting was held at Dvokodvweni Constituency. Dlamini alleges that members of the community were invited for a presentation on opportunities to start development projects funded by some unspecified donors. He says the donors were allegedly obtained through the efforts of the current government in which Fakudze was a cabinet minister.
"The presenters were from the Ministry of Agriculture, and the focus of the presentation was to sensitise people about savings and co-operative schemes as a conduit to empower communities about development projects," he states
"This was a political meeting and a campaign strategy for Fakudze (third respondent), who is still in Cabinet which is greatly prejudicial to the other candidates, which is illegal. Dlamini contends that another irregularity was caused by a polling officer, who was influencing other voters to vote for the minister. The case was postponed by Justice Qinisile Mabuza to today.
The applicants, Dlamini (Joel), Masiko Dlamini, Mathokoza Ntjalintjali and Mathukuthela Mkhabela were represented by Professor Msibi.
Bheki Maphalala is appearing for the minister, Sikhumbuzo Mkhabela and Gegela Ncaba Dlamini.