ZANU PF senior officials in the Midlands have promised riches — including mining claims and agricultural land — to opposition activists who defect to the ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections, The NewsHawks can report.
In recent months, the ruling party has been parading MDC Alliance defectors from various districts in the Midlands province.
Last week, provincial party bigwigs dangled the proverbial carrot at a meeting held at the Zanu PF Gweru district offices. At the meeting, 150 MDC Alliance activists were alleged to have defected to the ruling party.
Speaking at the event, Zanu PF provincial chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said opposition activists and officials who defect to the ruling party were assured of money-spinning projects that would economically empower them.
“When you join Zanu PF you should know that the cake is big for everyone to share,” Ncube said.
“To those who have come back home (to Zanu PF), we welcome you and you should go out there and bring others.
“…The country is endowed with resources and we have our land. If you are organised as party youths and toe the party line, there are many opportunities in mining and agriculture. You can form mining syndicates and benefit from our empowerment initiatives.”
The Midlands has a lot of gold deposits which are being mined by informal mining syndicates linked to very senior Zanu PF and government officials including ministers.
In a move seen as a bid to pacify ruling party activists, Ncube said those already in the party should not get “agitated” when they see the newcomers (defectors) getting more favours ahead of them.
“When you see us (senior officials) appearing to be giving more favours to the newcomers, don’t get angry. You should always remember biblical stories like the one where a father held a feast for a prodigal son. We want the new party cadres to feel welcome,” he said.
Ncube said that if the new members felt that they were not being given a warm welcome in the ruling party they should always feel free to approach his office for the problems to be rectified.
The Zanu PF provincial boss said that defectors should be introduced at all levels of the party from the cell to the provincial structures so that, besides being wholly integrated into the party, they can also benefit from programmes and projects given to other party members.
Ncube’s sentiments were echoed by his counterpart, Zanu PF senator for Shurugwi-Zvishavane Larry Mavima, who said opposition activists who join Zanu PF were guaranteed of opportunities particularly income-generating projects.
“Zanu PF is like a big pot. Everyone can get something from the party. All that is needed is discipline and to ensure that you do not put the name of the party into disrepute,” he said.
One of the defectors, only identified as Mahachi, a well-known Kudzanai bus terminus tout, said he joined Zanu PF after realising that he was getting old without anything to show for it.
“I have been mobilising MDC activists for a long time now but I have come to the realisation that my hair is getting grey and I have nothing to show for my allegiance to the party (MDC-Alliance). It is only in Zanu PF where you get economic opportunities to prosper in life,” he said.
Investigations by The NewsHawks revealed a grand plan by the ruling party in the Midlands province to take advantage of the Covid-19-induced economic woes many people face to entice opposition activists, especially those from the mainstream MDC Alliance, to join Zanu PF with promises of mining syndicates and pieces of agricultural land.
According to party insiders, the envisaged change of lifestyles of those who have already defected would be used as bait to entice others to abandon the opposition party.
“Once one defector starts living big, it would induce others to join the ruling party,” said a party official who preferred anonymity.
Recently, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo dismissed as “nonsensical” claims that the ruling party was using money to lure opposition figures.
But his counterpart in the MDC Alliance, Fadzayi Mahere, has alleged that Zanu PF is cloning the opposition party’s memebrship cards and T-shirts to paint a false picture that several people are defecting to the ruling party.
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