THE fight for slots at the Zanu-PF Women's Conference turned nasty yesterday with National Assembly Member for Gokwe-Gumunyu Cde Melania Majovani reporting Minister of State in the Office of the President Cde Flora Buka to the police for allegedly abducting and holding members of the Women's League hostage in a bid to force them to vote for her.
Fifty-five women were reportedly being held against their will at a lodge in Gokwe ahead of the anticipated vote.
Cde Buka is denying the allegations.
The pair is eyeing the Gokwe Women's League first candidate position.
Cde Majovani made a police report last Friday.
Cde Buka — who is the outgoing secretary for administration in the Women's League — confirmed that a police report was filed against her by Cde Majovani, but dismissed the allegations as cheap politics.
Cde Buka said police were still to question her over the allegations.
"We were supposed to have our district elections on Friday to elect candidates who will represent Gokwe at the provincial conference where we will elect women who will represent the province at the national women's conference.
"I was approached by a group of women from various places in Gokwe North who had come for the elections seeking accommodation. I then went to a lodge at Nembudziya Business Centre where I sought accommodation for them," she said.
"Some put up at the council premises. I was surprised to hear that Cde Majovani had made a police report against me accusing me of holding the women against their will."
Cde Buka said her rival was trying to garner support by tarnishing her image.
"It was the only logical thing for the women to put up at Nembudziya so that they would proceed for accreditation in Gokwe. Cde Majovani could be trying to tarnish my image since we are vying for the same position at district level.
"No one has been arrested over the matter. I am a law-abiding citizen. I would not commit such a crime just to be voted for," added Cde Buka.
"Cde Majovani had over 20 women the same time she alleges that I was holding the women against their will. She is bitter because she had realised that she was losing ground and I had more support than her."
Cde Majovani said she reported the matter to the police after realising that Cde Buka was holding the women against their will.
"We heard that the women were being kept at the council premises and at a local lodge by Cde Buka and were not allowed to talk to other people. We then reported the matter to the police. Cde Buka was trying to manipulate the women and force them vote for her," he said.
Efforts to get a comment from police in Gokwe were fruitless last night.
The Women's League elections are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the Conference that begins on August 12.
Last week, Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Webster Shamu sparked outrage within the party after introducing secretary for administration and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Cde Didymus Mutasa as the acting national chairman at the commemoration of the ruling Zanu-PF's July 31, 2013 landslide victory.
The introduction came as a surprise to many considering that Cde Mutasa is eyeing the position of national chairman at the party's elective Congress in December.