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Former Gokwe opposition councilor Mutembedzi joins ZANU-PF

Ephraim Munhuwei

In a surprising turn of events, Leadmore Mutembedzi, the former councilor of the Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) and an independent candidate in the Gokwe district, publicly announced his decision to join the ruling party, ZANU PF.

Mutembedzi, who had previously advocated for change and pushed for alternative political platforms, announced his sudden move recently. Flanked by senior ZANU PF officials, he made the much-anticipated announcement in Gokwe.

“When I crossed the floor from CCC to ZANU-PF I realized that CCC was and is not a party for development and unity. It is a party of thugs, and losers and a party full of people who are power-hungry. They do not have love for their country, always wishing the people of Zimbabwe to suffer so that they get voted. So I joined the revolutionary party that brought Independence to the people of Zimbabwe and brought democracy to us.

“CCC was supposed to go for a congress since it was a new political outfit, and has new leadership elected by the people. One cannot run a political party without structures. It is not a burial society, we are talking of politics. This will determine the future of this country and the future of this country is in the hands of the electorate not four people who include Nelson Chamisa, Amos Chibaya, Fadzai Mahere, and Gift Ostallos Siziba. They will not go anywhere with their personal project.

“About two months before primary elections, I was nominated in Gokwe Central Constituency Ward 3 to stand as a CCC candidate for Gokwe Town local position. After that, we were waiting for validation and endorsement that was the next process after security vetting. I went through the nomination process and the security vetting process because I was a council member.

“I was surprised on the day of validation and endorsement that my name was not announced by the commissioners who came to Njelele Ward 3 to do the final endorsement and validation of those who were nominated. I enquired and I was advised by the commissioners to speak to Chamisa or Chibaya. I was really surprised that these are the two people who are running everything within the opposition party. I felt betrayed and that forced me to stand as an Independent Candidate. As I speak there is a mass exodus of CCC members who are defecting to ZANU-PF after realizing the shoddy internal candidates’ selection process in the opposition outfit,” he said.

Mtembedzi further accused CCC leader Nelson Chamisa of being power hungry. This according to him is the reason why Chamisa centralized powers and broke up all party structures.

“Chamisa wants to do everything on his own. I do not think it is a good idea. I do not hate him personally, but I am against the idea of centralizing power. It is not a good idea. Let ideas come from party organs, you cannot run a party on your own. It is impossible. You need other people; you need party structures. A political party is not a private company, where you can do things on your own,” said Mtembedzi.

The former opposition councilor cited the government’s ongoing efforts to improve infrastructure, attract investments, and uplift the living standards of citizens as key factors that influenced his decision. He acknowledged that while he had previously criticized ZANU PF, he now believed that President Mnangagwa will take Zimbabwe to the Promised Land.

“I have realized the good works of the New Dispensation and President Mnangagwa’s leadership qualities. He has pressed the right code on the economic front. I have travelled across the country, and you can see Zimbabwe is fast developing. I have seen how ZANU-PF reformed itself. The New Dispensation is doing a good job. Look at the Harare-Beitbridge Road. I was so impressed because those are wonderful projects from the Second Republic. So many projects are being undertaken now and Zimbabwe can trust the President to take them to the Promised Land. Meanwhile there is no light in the opposition.

“I joined opposition politics in 1999. I thought I had taken the right step, but I realized that they have nothing to offer. There is no bright future, instead they are supported by the West and have made the people suffer because of the illegal sanctions that they begged for. Have you ever heard Chamisa denouncing sanctions? He will never do that; the CCC wants the economy to implode so that there will be a protest vote; but that is a long shot in the dark judging.

“Opposition politics will be dead in Zimbabwe very soon, so I have decided to go to a party where I am accepted and where I originated from. I am going to relaunch my political career at a party that respects the will of the people,” he said.

He further added that he does not owe anyone an apology for leaving the opposition, and joining the ruling party.

“I do not owe anyone an apology for leaving the opposition, and joining the ruling party because I have already been betrayed and that will not stop me from supporting development in Gokwe,” said Mtembedzi.

Speaking in an interview with this reporter, an official from ZANU-PF in Gokwe Samson Chigaba welcomed Mtembedzi to the revolutionary party. Gokwe Central Legislature Masvisvi also added that Mtembedzi has made a great political move for his future.

“Cde Machinda Leadmore Mtembedzi is much welcom and he made a right decision to follow the peaceful and developmental party, led by His Excellence President ED Mnangagwa. For those who are still hesitating to join us, the doors are open for everyone, let us unite and develop our nation together and fulfill our President’s wishes for the Vision 2030,” said Chigaba.

“Cde Mtembedzi chose the right direction. He has had experience in politics for the past five years while in the council under the opposition. He is an idealist who need development, peace and wants to be successful Zimbabwe. He is most welcome to the party and with him we expect good results and we will work with him peacefully,” said Masvisvi.

However, some members of the opposition expressed disappointment, feeling that Mutembedzi’s move undermines the very principles he once held dear. CCC Cluster Secretary in Gokwe Choto and CCC member who was contesting as MP for Gokwe Central Constituency Hope Shava rebuked all accusations spelt by Mtembedzi accusing Mtembedzi of being a sell-out. 

“Mtembedzi was always a threat to CCC party that is why his name pulled out from nomination list because we knew that one day he will betray us. Now he is saying a lot about triple C because he lost the post in recent election, trying to spoil the name of CCC party. Our party is not a party of thugs and criminal, but rather the opposite is the truth, ZANU-PF if full of thugs who do not fear to kill and harass people. In 2008 there was blood shed after ZANU-PF refused to hand over power to Morgan Tsvangirai. Recently, in 2018 they used gunfire to kill civilians, but ZANU-PF claims to be a peaceful party, that is a lie,” said Choto.

“We are not power hungry but we want change in Zimbabwe for the benefit of everyone and to develop a democratic Zimbabwe. How can Zimbabwe be a peaceful Country without democracy? Democracy in Zimbabwe is only in constitutional papers not in practical ways because of ZANU-PF. Therefore we are not power hungry but we want change and development,” said Shava.

The announcement of Mutembedzi’s defection comes just weeks after the national elections. It remains to be seen how this development will impact the dynamics of the Gokwe district’s political landscape.

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