More MDC defections looming?

A number of MDC-T officials have expressed an interest in defecting from the party, claims a senior Zanu (PF) official. The National Constitutional Assembly also says that losing candidates from the MDC have joined its ranks.

Madock Chivasa
Madock Chivasa

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said those who had left were never genuine members and the party would “not lose sleep over them”. “In fact, the party will be stronger because it would be left with those who have the struggle of the people at heart and not opportunists who wanted to cash in on our anticipated victory,” he said.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party was ready to accept them. “We are aware that those guys who had joined the MDC-T were searching for greener pastures, but it later turned out that the party was failing to deliver. We are going to welcome them because Zanu (PF) is an all-inclusive party,” said Gumbo. “I can only tell you of Qubani Moyo from the MDC-N but I know there are several others willing to join us.” Following the transformation of the NCA into a political party in September, there were reports that the new movement was courting disgruntled MDC-T officials. Spokesperson Madock Chivasa said prominent MDC-T officials, among them some candidates who had lost in the primaries and the election, had confirmed they were willing to join their party although he would also not divulge their names.

“We have people even from outside Harare who have joined and in Harare we have some prominent people who have joined us. I cannot disclose their names for now but I think it’s now public information that people like Emmanuel Chiroto have joined us,” said Chivasa.

The loyalty of several MDC-T councillors who were elected in July has been called into question as, in several municipalities, they defied the party’s directives to vote for MDC mayors and sided with Zanu (PF) instead. There were many allegations that money and other inducements changed hands.

Former MPs who lost at the primary elections told The Zimbabwean they had lost confidence in their party and were ready to move on.

“The problem is that the leadership thought they had arrived and decided to impose some of their friends and relatives. But after the disputed poll result, there is so much disgruntlement and the level of unity in the party is pathetic,” said one former MP on condition of anonymity.

“For example, people like Eric Knight had spent several years in the diaspora and were considered ahead of tried and tested party members. I am one classic example of those people willing to leave and when all is in place, I will certainly make it public,” he added.

Knight, a former television personality, has been silent on reports that he has crossed the floor to join Zanu (PF).

Another former MP said: “The general feeling is that people are really disappointed and many are weighing their options. Of course, we know the elections were rigged but as a party we had our own serious shortcomings that led to our defeat, and chief among these was the imposition of candidates.” Political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said the defectors were not really MDC to the core.

“You can best describe them as opportunists who were concerned with their welfare and not about the party. I think the MDC-T will not be affected because their core support is from genuine cadres who are able to move the party forward. The party might actually benefit from Zanu (PF’s) failure to implement its election promises,” he said.

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