President Emmerson Mnangagwa will entice MDC Alliance senior officials into joining Zanu PF using various persuasive and even coercive instruments as he seeks to weaken his main rival Nelson Chamisa ahead of the 2023 elections, observers say.
Nearly three years ago, Mnangagwa got a major fright after Chamisa nearly beat him to the presidency in a fiercely contested election.
The MDC Alliance did not accept the result of the polls, arguing they were rigged and this created serious friction between the ruling party and the opposition.
Mnangagwa has been accused of using state institutions and abusing the law to disable the MDC Alliance.
The defection of MDC Alliance deputy treasurer general Lillian Timveos to Zanu PF last week brought a new dimension to the political battle between the ruling party leader and Chamisa.
A senior MDC Alliance official said they were aware that several party officials, especially those recalled from Parliament by MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora, were being enticed to join Zanu PF.
Some of the legislators that lost their seats barely two years into their terms are said to have become vulnerable because Parliament was their only source of income.
“They are then approached and offered money, jobs and assistance to retain cars,” said the official.
“They are supposed to pay tax to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and most of them do not have the money to do so.
“If they are offered tax exemptions in return for dumping Chamisa, most of them will fall into the trap.”
It has since emerged that the MDC Alliance tried to convince Timveos not to dump the opposition party after senior Zanu PF officials started enticing her to join the ruling party.
This was after she was allegedly spotted at a hotel in Gweru in the company of Midlands Provincial minister Larry Mavima and Local Government minister July Moyo.
Chamisa is said to have sent a party official to talk to her about her decision.
Timveos reportedly telephoned the MDC Alliance leader assuring him that she would not join Zanu PF.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, however, refuted allegations that the party had a strategy being executed at the highest levels to ground Chamisa.
“That is not our agenda,” Khaya Moyo said. “We are concentrating on building unity in the country. Also focus is on the devastating Covid-19 pandemic and also on the economy.
“We don’t have time to discuss individuals.
“Remember when they defected, (Timveos and Chebundo) met the president and they told him the reasons why they defected.
“The reasons they proffered are far from what they are talking about.”
Khaya Moyo added: “Why do people not believe the reasons they said made them join Zanu PF?
“As a party, we welcome them because we saw that their reasons are sound.
“We don’t have reason to splash money to lure anyone to come to the party or destroy the opposition.
“We are a majority party with two- thirds majority in Parliament. We are not that kind of party, which uses money.”
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said they were aware that Zanu PF wants to degrade Chamisa’s influence ahead of the elections.
“It is not an accusation; we are just stating what is happening on the ground,” Hlatywayo said.
“They are afraid of president Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance.
“They have been unsuccessfully trying to make sure that they destroy the person of our president and the party MDCA.
“Our party is rooted in people’s hearts. They will not succeed.”
He said the Supreme Court ruling in March last year, which declared Chamisa an illegitimate leader, was another Zanu PF plot to force the recall of MPs and councillors in the hope of weakening him. – The Standard