By Zimbabwe Voice Reporter
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora’s manouvres to win the support of high-ranking opposition poltiicians appear to be paying huge dividends as senior figures have opted to join him instead of staying rival MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa.
Among the officials who have “quietly” joined Mwonzora after dumping Chamisa include Dr Ruth Labode, an experienced medical doctor and Matabeleland North politician who has been in opposition trenches since the days of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Dr Labode is also a past regional president of Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), and has led the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care for a long time. Mwonzora has appointed her his shadow Minister of Health and Child Care.
Other big names that have dumped Chamisa include Anele Ndebele, a lawyer and Magwegwe MP who was known to be close friends with Chamisa. Ndebele is now MDC-T shadow Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
Former Cabinet Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo admitted that Mwonzora had made some “noticeable effort” to attract longtime MDC stalwarts who included founding members.
He highlighted the fact that most of the big names announced by Mwonzora in hi Cabinet were all along believed to be in the Chamisa faction.
Professor Moyo was responding to the MDC-T announcement of its shadow Cabinet Ministers and shadow Ministers of State. He commended the move by Mwonzora saying the shadow Ministers “portfolios have some potential for organized policy-based messaging”.
Said Moyo: “The content of this move by Mwonzora invites public attention because: (1) many of the names are well known longtime MDC stalwarts and (2) the portfolios have some potential for organized policy-based messaging.
“While the execution remains to be seen, the effort is noticeable!”
Veteran politicians tend to resonate with the electorate quite easily compared to totally new names.
Other big names that have been announced as Ministers in Mwonzora’s shadow Cabinet include Memory Mbondiya, a close ally of MDC-T chairperson Morgen Komichi. She is the MDC-T shadow Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
Mt. Pleasant MP Samuel Banda, who beat Fadzayi Mahere in the 2018 elections, is also in the Mwonzora camp as shadow Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.
Mwonzora has also snatched Piniel Denga, a former MP for Mbare, from Chamisa. Other well-known opposition figures who have left Chamisa for Mwonzora include Morgan Femai, Giles Mutsekwa, Gift Chimamikire, David Tekeshe and Gift Banda, among others.
“Chamisa’s supporters may console themselves saying all these people have been bought to leave Chamisa, but the truth is that people who know Chamisa better are fed up by his intolerance and lack of fresh ideas,” a Harare lawyer with links to Chamisa told this reporter.
“The MDC Alliance is effectively run from Chamisa’s cellphone and laptop. Truth is Chamisa is now just an independent politician as that MDC Alliance name now has nothing to it except being a name. When is the last time you heard they held a meeting, even a virtual one? It’s all Twitter and nothing on the ground.”
Professor Moyo agreed that Chamisa is headed for another shock defeat in 2023. The former Zanu-PF propagandist said it was folly for the opposition to just believe young people will register and vote for Chamisa when he had nothing in terms of strategy.
“The presumption that the youth can be mobilised to register to vote in historic numbers for the 2023 election to vote for SOMEONE without SOMETHING is politically naive and risks ending in grief.
“The strategy must have beef, hence the need for content-based voter mobilization!” said Moyo.
Professor Moyo’s statement came after Chamisa early on Friday said he was going to teach Zanu PF leader President Mnangagwa a huge lesson in the next elections set for 2023. □