By Nompumelelo Sibanda and Mutsa Makuvaza
AT LEAST four more MDC Alliance officials, including at least one of the party’s three Vice Presidents, are leaving the opposition party citing various reasons ranging from frustration, disenfranchisement, and the need to pursue other careers outside politics.
The development comes a day after the party’s former Senator for Midlands, Lillian Timveous, crossed over to join Zanu-PF and was paraded at the State House Wednesday by President Mnangagwa. Another veteran opposition politician, Blessing Chebundo, also left the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora to join Zanu-PF.
But it is the imminent departure of MDC Alliance vice president Professor Welshman Ncube that is set to send shockwave in the opposition movement. Together with Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Professor Ncube is the third of Chamisa’s deputies who have been in that role since the early 2019 party congress.
“Professor Ncube is leaving, but he prefers that it appears like he’s pursuing professional interests outsiders the country,” a source close to the law academic told the Zimbabwe Voice from Bulawayo.
It is understood Professor Ncube has been headhunted by an international organization, and is using that as a perfect excuse to depart from the party which he privately said is embroiled in “directionless chaos”.
“Umdala (the old man) is frustrated, and who isn’t? He has for a long time been silent about so many issues, hoping for a polite way out. He’s got it now with this upcoming appointment to the top management of an international organization,” the source added, demanding anonymity.
Professor Ncube has also gone mute on party issues on his social media platforms. Throughout the five months since October, his most notable activity was wishing Morgan Tsvangirai to continue resting in peace on 14th February, the third anniversary of his death.
MDC Alliance national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo has also been named among those who are in the departure tongue, but it is understood Chamisa is encouraging her to stay and occupy the space to be left by Professor Ncube as the party’s highest ranking figure from Matebeleland and western Zimbabwe.
“Khumalo was until recently vowing she was fed up, but may change her mind now that Professor Ncube is leaving the party. However, just like Professor Ncube, she had of late gone very quiet as frustration from the Secretary-General are into her,” it has been revealed.
Another matrix that determines Khumalo’s future is whether Chamisa reigns in his all-powerful ally Hwende and Amos Chibaya, who both stand accused of harassing and belittling senior party members.
In May last year, Khumalo was recalled for from Parliament together with three other MDC Alliance MPs, – Charlton Hwende, Lilian Timveous, and Prosper Mutseyami – as Khupe wielded the axe on Chamisa’s allies.
Hwende, the MDC Alliance Secretary-General, is accused of using his close proximity to Chamisa to ride roughshod over fellow party leaders and treating them like “his children” whenever they demand transparency and accountability regarding party funds.
Also set to leave the party is Bacilia Majaya, who is understood to be on her way to Zanu-PF. In July last year, Majaya was among a group of proportional representation legislators recalled from the august house by then MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe as she had aligned with Chamisa inspire of the Supreme Court ruling which deemed Chamisa illegitimate.
A number of the recalled top officials have vented at the party leadership for failing to protect them from losing their seats in upcoming by-elections even though the party had assured them they would not be recalled.
Karenyi-Kore, the party’s former women’s assembly chair who after the 2019 Gweru congress became a third vice president, is also said to be unhappy and seeking an exit. She has been reportedly seeking to follow Mwonzora into the MDC-T, according to MDC-T insiders.
Karenyi-Kore is a longtime ally of Mwonzora but chose to stay with Chamisa when the Supreme Court delivered the crushing ruling a year ago. She has been a career MP and depended largely on the Parliament job for sustenance, Zimbabwe Voice heard, but that went up in smoke when Khupe recalled her.
In October last year, Khupe recalled Karenyi-Kore and nine other MPs from the National Assembly. Karenyi-Kore refused to comment on her immediate political plans.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance responded to the Timveous floor crossing: “We respect the right of Senator Timveos and Mr Chebundo to freely associate with a party of their choosing.
“We remain focused on championing the cause of the people, being a voice for the masses and winning Zimbabwe for change under the able leadership of President Nelson Chamisa.”
The party’s spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said: “While everyone is free to join any political party, Zanu PF is never a progressive option.
“History and the people will judge those who enable a system that has caused untold suffering to the masses. We are clear – Zanu PF is the problem. Zanu PF must go.” – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺