OPPOSITION MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa and his rival MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora have sustained a blow after two party bigwigs, Lilian Timveos and Blessing Chebundo, dumped both parties respectively and enlisted with the ruling party, Zanu PF.
The two were accepted into Zanu PF by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and national chairman Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri at a function held at State House in Harare yesterday.
Chebundo rose to fame when he beat Mnangagwa twice in successive parliamentary polls — 2000 and 2005 — for the Kwekwe Urban seat.
He was also a member of the MDC-T standing committee, while Timveos served as senator for the Midlands province before she was recalled from Parliament last year by Mwonzora, who said she was no longer a member of the MDC-T as she was supporting Chamisa.
She was recalled from Parliament alongside Thabitha Khumalo, Chalton Hwende and Prosper Mutseyami.
“Two former MDC Alliance key members, Senator Lilian Timveos and (Cde) Blessing Chebundo have crossed the floor to join the ruling Zanu PF party. They have just met with the President and (Zanu PF) first secretary, (Cde) ED Mnangagwa, at State House,” presidential spokesperson George Charamba tweeted yesterday.
Chebundo had since left MDC Alliance to join MDC-T, now led by Senator Douglas Mwonzora. Both figures opined that they found it futile to continue with negative opposition for the sake of opposition, instead of joining hands with the rest of the country to support Vision 2030.”
They were both escorted to State House by Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, and Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavhima.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere yesterday said they respected the pair’s rights to associate freely with a party of their choice.
“We remain focused on championing the cause of the people, being the voice for the masses and winning Zimbabwe under the able leadership of president Chamisa,” she said.
MDC-T national chairman Morgen Komichi echoed similar sentiments, saying Zimbabwe was a multi-party democracy, hence they respected Chebundo’s decision.
He was our secretary for local government. It’s unfortunate he has left the party, but we respect his decision. He has rights to choose what he wants to do and join a party of his choice. We respect his rights,” Komichi said.
Chebundo is a founder member of the MDC and has represented Kwekwe constituency in the Parliament since the watershed elections of 2000, rising to fame by beating Mnangagwa twice despite facing threats to his life.
He joined Welshman Ncube during the MDC’s first split in 2005, re-joined the late party founder Morgan Tsvangirai, then Chamisa and lately Mwonzora.
Besides being MDC Alliance senator, Timveos was also deputy treasurer in the opposition party before her reported resignation from the party three weeks ago.
In November last year, Tongai Matutu, Masvingo Urban MP and a senior MDC Alliance official, also left the opposition pact and joined Zanu PF, with the ruling party claiming more opposition officials were set to jump ship