Respected political scientist, Eldred Masunungure believes the defections to ZANU PF by MDC-A and MDC-T officials, Lilian Timveous and Blessing Chebundo, respectively will help President Emmerson Mnangagwa consolidate power in his home province, Midlands.
Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, said that Chebundo is not a political novice as he is a founding member of the MDC and has previously defeated Mnangagwa in the 2000 and 2005 parliamentary elections in Kwekwe Central.
More high-profile defections from the MDC-A are possible and the party’s president, Nelson Chamisa need to come up with a strategy to counter that. Said Masunungure:
In Chebundo, we are talking about someone with real political capital, having previously defeated Mnangagwa in the 2000 and 2005 parliamentary elections.
So, it is a momentous development that will help the incumbent to consolidate his power base in the Midlands.
It is normal that leaders would want to build their power bases from their home provinces before spreading their tentacles elsewhere.
Mnangagwa wants to be seen as having united the people from his home area to rally behind him after getting the likes of Timveous to his side. It will work wonders for him.
Some political commentators have, however, downplayed Timveos and Chebundo’s defections, saying the two are spent forces and sore losers after the former failed to clinch the vice presidency at the 2019 Congress while the latter lost heavily to a young female party activist in the Kwekwe Central primaries.