By Hon. Blessing Chebundo (BC)
Many people have been enquiring and raising many questions around what triggered Hon. B. Chebundo to undertake political transposition, in view of his somewhat regarded courageous political CV.
It is hoped that the following two “Brief write-ups’ may help to shed some lights:
FIRST BRIEF: Deals with ‘Brief Political background’:
SECOND BRIEF: Attempts to give information pertaining to questions that have been generally thrown on social media:
- BRIEF POLITICAL BACKGROUND:
Here with my ‘ foundational political backgrounds’ and which I think will ‘set the pace’ for many would be interested readers regarding the whole issue of my ‘political transpositions from MDC to ZANU PF in February this year’.
Just to make it clear from the onset that I was an active cadre of the Revolutionary ZANU PF party in Kwekwe immediately prior to the elections ‘1980’ that ushered in majority rule/Independence. Soon after the elections, and inspite of my youthful age, I became the Vice Secretary for ZANU PF Gutsaruzhinji District’s main wing in Amaveni, Kwekwe following the first party structuring exercise.
- I am also a veteran Trade Unionist (1984) who rose through the rank and file to become National Head of the Finance and Administration of Zimbabwe Chemical, Plastics and Allied Workers Union, (ZCPAWU), at the same time, doubling as the Vice Chairman of ZCTU Central Region (Midlands Province 1990 – 2000).
Together with many other Trade Unionists, I quietly left ZANU PF around 1989 when the relationship between the ruling party and ZCTU became strained beyond retrieve. At that time, I was the ZANU PF Gutsaruzhinji District Secretary for Finance.
All this time I worked for Sable Chemical Industries (+21 years) and was its Occupational Health, Safety and Loss Control Officer by the time I was first elected into Parliament of Zimbabwe, in 2000.
I served three consecutive terms with Parliament, heading the ‘Health and Child Care, as well as Transport and Infrastructure Development Committees’.
I had been elected MDC founder Chairperson for Midlands North Province in May 1999, and subsequently elevated to the national executive at the party’s inaugural congress in 2000 and continued at that party apex level till the time I left the party in February 2021 to rejoin the Revolutionary party and this all in the wake of the second republic and its new dispensation/administration.
I majored in :-1. Local Governance Studies with MSU.
- Occupational Health,. Safety, and Loss Control; with The National Institute for Working Life, Sweden,
- Labour Studies at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium.
- A holder of several certificates in Environmental Health:Occupational Health:HIV/,AIDS Leadership
and Management: and in Anti-Graft.. .(am a Founder Trustee/BoardMember of the AntiCorruption TRUST of Southern Africa’ (ACTS SA).
I represented Parliament in many institutions:
a) African Parliamentary
b) WHO Commission on
of Health (CSDH)
c) Coalition of African
Against HIV (CAPAH)’.
In 2003, I founded the Africa Wide Network of African Parliamentary Committees on Health’ (NEAPACOH) www.seapacoh.org , that up to today, brings together Parliamentary Committees for Health from across African continent, and I remain its current Advisor.
At National level, I founded and led the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians on HIV AIDS, and Championed open public practical leadership on Voluntary HIV testing and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, leading 181 MPs participants in 2012
After re-joining the Revolutionary party in February 2021, I successfully attended the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology, for reorientation on ‘Gwara remusangano’ and institutional and national values, and am now very instrumental in programmes to grow and strengthening the party, and country.
Am married to a ‘Veteran of the 2nd War of Liberation’ Alice ‘Batanai Vatema Muhondo’ Chebundo. (Knee Katsande). We are blessed with five children, a boy and four girls.
Why I moved from MDC to Zanu PF
Moving from the MDC to ZANU PF was purely a ‘personal decision arrived at after ‘thorough soul searching, and wider consultations with relatives, friends, and some colleagues’ in the wider spectrum of activities.
The question of ‘Why and What informed me to take this decision, especially given my political CV’, has been asked repeatedly by many people, and continue to be talked about. It is therefore imperative to ‘shed some light’.
First, I must state that, if it wasn’t for the persistence of these many in asking this question by people some of whom I have known and worked with so closely over the years, otherwise, I had taken a rather ‘biblical position’ to just keep it to myself, avoid explaining some of the contributing factors that pushed me to take the move, as doing so means ending up dragging and involving people’s names. I could just so move on with ‘ my latest chosen political path’. I am not given to denigrate people even if I am wronged.
However, now that I have given in to answer this unceasing question, I herein explain below, albeit in somewhat greater detail: hoping that it will help to answer many who have been interested to know.
FIRSTLY, I took the move for National good, putting the nation first!
SECONDLY, as a human being who react to “stimuli”, I could not continue to endure the ‘endless silent persecution from the new order within the opposition MDC party i.e. ‘post Tsvangirai era.’
The answer to this question lies in “elaboration’ and with a brief background for one to fully understand/appreciate:
My Political Turning Point;-
My first test of politics was the period immediately before, and post election 1980 that ushered in Majority based black Government. As a ‘ very young man’ I took interest in being actively involved in the revolutionary ZANU PF political organization.
People (those around in 1980) should not fool others to say, ‘they never have been ZANU PF or PF ZAPU etc. The truth is, majority of people who were 18 and above in 1980, with the enthusiasm for liberation, one was either ZANU PF and or PF ZAPU.
Very few were otherwise.
I had always supported the cause of the Chimurenga war, and via the pursuing organizations, besides, my Fiancé ‘Alice Katsande’ had joined the liberation war from her closer to Mozambique border home of Mutoko (thank God she made it back and we got married after the war,). I had also contemplated that I would also one day join the war front.
It so happened that when the efforts to bring together the warring organizations to Lancaster House, and talks began in ernest, I became more practical alive to active involvement under the internal supporting groups and in Kwekwe, Midlands, as led by senior members such as those I worked with at Sable Chemical Industries, the likes of Cde. Chaunouta and others, who latter attended the Lancaster talks, and were to subsequently became our first black elected public office bearers; Kwekwe Mayors etc..
With the conclusion of the Talks and with others, we became openly active campaigning for ZANU PF in Kwekwe, albeit at the risk of UANC’s Dzaku Tsaku members who then controlled and were supported by former state apparatus.
So, I was with the revolutionary party immediately before, and post elections that brought independence and I occupied positions in District structures.
But then I also became a member of the Trade Union leadership post Independence and relationship between government (and governing party) and labour was initially that of father and son.
However, as time went by, differences developed between government and labour, due to disagreements over government shifts in economic and labour related policies. And so the two parted ways.
It followed that majority of us Trade Unionists who were active in the party ZANU PF, and PF ZAPU, silently left to pursue ‘worker interests’.
Now coming back to answer the specific question:-
‘Why Rejoined ZANU PF?’
Many issues triggered this personal decision/move:-
- Death of founding MDC President Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT)
Since MDC President, (MRT) left for his Maker in February 2018, things went bad for the MDC family, in all its forms, and formations. The party gradually became like a ‘Shadow of its Former Self’. The new centre failed dismally, to hold.Things went bad from the “onset immediately after MRT’s death.If honest-ness is to be respected, it’s justified to say that the party gradually became like, without direction: it became like, without shape: lacked cohesion: and leadership that is ‘aloft in oratory rhetoric, but with serious deficits in Wisdom and Strategy’….and non receptive to advise.Unfortunately for many ordinary democratic citizens and others who are limited to seeing things from outside the party’, it is like admiring the looks of an attractive/shining pumpkin from outside: oblivious of the carcinogenicity inner situation!One and half years post MRT departure, you could not tell whether the party was ‘going, or static, or coming back: The party lost campus, ‘no end game plan whatsoever’.
- The irritating know it all leadership approach
Against all endured humanly possible advises, the new leadership went on to clandestinely attempt to ‘renew the party’ by elbowing/decimating all those perceived to have been closer to MRT as his lieutenants/old guards ‘maGogoderas: all for various reasons’.
However, in so doing, little did the leadership realized that they were destroying the inherited pillars, and ‘foundational party heritage’.
- Post 2018 elections
The unsustainable ‘post 2018 election unyielding stance, coupled with the unprecedented party Command Congress 2019, the so called ‘Chinhu Chedu’ Congresses, accelerated the destruction of party.
This ‘Chinhu Chedu Team, (majority of them being members who decimally lost positions/ defeated during the 2014 congress, and now re-teaming up with the former Renewals click that had returned into the fold ‘ courtesy of the magnanimity of the late MRT…. Alliance pact)
These forces converged ‘ to wreck vengeance and purge out perceived MRT loyalists who had thwarted their revolting agenda in 2013, (Renewals), and 2014 congress (Chinhu Chedu defeated around the then fiercely contested SG etc position
- The throwing out of the MRT endgame vision
MRT end-game vision as he battled cancer was to ‘unite all former MDC outfits, and others under the Alliance pact, and for all progressive Democratic forces, whether in or out of ZANU PF, hence MRT vision for mass collaboration to support the 2017 people and nation desired action for restoration of legacy. But the throwing out of this vision by new bosses soon after MRT death was an unfortunate lack of Wisdom and strategy.
To Antagonize allies of the 2017, and in lieu embraces the one you jointly pushed aside to correct the undesired situation, was a fatalistic political error, that was not shared democratically.
Worse when ‘ post party command congress 2019’ then cemented this by filling ‘half the national executive board, with those whom you had helped to put aside in 2017, (and even enrolling some as party advisors), and in the process disregarding the party constitutional order! And all these against advises from close and senior seasoned colleagues! In short, applying the knowing it all syndrome!
- Systematic personalized targeted intra persecution
Like with many others, personally, I was systematically worked out for specific number of reasons. I tried to endure, but at the end, being a human being, I could not withstand the continued haunting.
Here I share below a few of the specific ‘push out factors’ :-
Having been one of the perceived closest to MRT lieutenants who were seen as defending plots to systematically working MRT out, this beginning congress 2011 when I successfully stood ground against Renewal/Chinhu Chedu coalition in Midlands North. The plot to remove MRT and his former Trade Unions comrades had already begun, albeit clandestinely.
Having exposed the advocacy for leadership Renewal agenda by the Renewalists in post 2013 elections, culminating in the formation of the Renewal party by those undermining MRT, honest colleagues from inside MDC can vouch me out by remembering the ‘No holds Barred Mandel Training Centre Indaba of September 2013’.
In the 2013 Parliamentary elections, a punitive systematic way had to be worked out against party constituency candidates perceived to be MRT loyalists. In Kwekwe through the office of the SG and his slat led by fellow National Executives from Kwekwe/Midlands etc, they recruited and favoured a then well known ZANU PF party activist to unconstitutional participate in Kwekwe Central MDC primaries, as a way to destroy BC chances. The overall resultant was the 2013 parliamentary elections outcome. Overally, the party performed dismally due to internal undermining, campaign programme financial suffocation, etc by the responsible officers who were undermining MRT, and this (regardless of the reported significant funding from outside). These officers aimed at down-falling MRT to justify calls for leadership renewal…. It was no surprise seeing the immediate subsequent split, and formation of the Renewal party led by the two senior officers, immediately post 2013 elections.
I was hated by the Chinhu Chedu Team allegedly for being one of the key players in their 2014 party Congress defeat for the SG and other eyed key posts. They perceived this as an MRT crafted agenda and executed via his perceived close key lieutenants.
In 2018 the ‘Chinhu Chedu Arm’ of the new boss and being in full control of both the organizing and elections directorate, tried frantically, though in vain, to oust BC from the party Kwekwe primaries, through the control of the Elections Directorate, the next strategy was to verbally agree, clandestinely , and arrange with the National Patriotic Front (NPF) party to support their Kwekwe Central Candidate in return for the NPF using the MDC Alliance presidential candidate. This was a ‘late Alliance verbal addendum albeit coming outside the formal Alliance party packages but had blessings of Alliance Boss. And so the deal was sealed, oblivious to BC and campaign team on ground. And, by the time the unwanted BC and team became aware on ground, it was too late to convince the entire party base support, especially in the slums of Amaveni. The new party boss himself was the first to phone and congratulate the NPF candidate, and party…..at the same time openly mocking His own party candidate.(internal persecution at play). Bar that, the persecuted seasoned persons continued supporting and being loyal to the new boss and party though by now the ‘Chinhu Chedu Team’ as led by the national organizing team and elections directorate, accelerated its war against BC, and all other long serving members ‘ regarded as the late MRT pillars.
The worse acts, callous and shameful were to be experienced during the 2019 Command Congress, the first Congress without MRT. The lower level ‘Districts and Provincial Assemblies/congress process management , were all ‘command’ process. Marred by open manipulations: removal of candidates names from ballot papers: open violence against anyone suspected to be ‘anti Chinhu Chedu’. And the deliberate delays to ensure the processes took place under darkness. Kwekwe Central District was dragged into ‘chaos and never had the 2019 congress/assembly’, all as a strategy to punish BC and his perceived bases of support. Till this day, the MDC Kwekwe District/Constituency has no legitimate structures as based on congress 2019.
The Midlands Provincial Congress also saw people who had nominated the likes BC for Officers of Congress positions being openly beaten up. All these being done openly in the presence of the party ‘commanding Presidium’. The experiences were unprecedented and horrendous. .
This internal persecution was mounted around the party primaries following the death of incumbent Kwekwe Central MP in 2020. Having been the party official alternative parliamentarian by virtue of 2018 candidature. Though it was well in order to democratically conduct primaries, it is the way the process was deliberately manipulated, and executed structurally from the boss’s Chinhu Chedu office down to the Provincial command. Goal posts moved to short-change the unwanted. The constitutionally stated electoral college (misleading) kept secret to other contestants until on the eve of the primaries that were conduct by an unconstitutional ‘retaining team’ made up of people who had ‘camped for two months prior to the primaries’ at one of the contesting person’s home allegedly collaborating for ‘gold panning relationships’.
However, despite being worked out under such circumstances, all the other candidates decided to ‘let sleeping the dogs lie’ : give up, and ‘play cool, clapping hands for the declared winner,’
So, it was against all the above that, as time moved, I took a ‘ deep self introspection: MDC introspection: and did deep political soul searching for some days that followed:.
- Putting the nation first
I interrogated the reasons that we formed MDC for in the first instance with MRT and others.
I interrogated the last vision of MRT in 2017 as people supported the ‘restore legacy move’:
I contrasted the policies and conduct of the 37 years first republic versus that of the second republic/new dispensation.
I asked myself that isn’t what is being pursued by the latter in line with our 1999 MDC agenda, notwithstanding that not everything has changed, but it is the course of plans and action being put in place, and the achievements so far, that worth giving a chance and supporting.
When such developments/opportunities happen for the country that had suffered so much for nearly four decades, why not give a chance for the sack of the nation and citizenry? Is it a question of ,’as long as the presidium is not for those from us’? And what guarantee that they will be infallible?
I further asked myself, after all, has this not been experienced, and for good progress in the past. The 1980 scenario itself of RGM working with Smith after the protracted war, for the good of the country. The 1987 unity,: the 2008 MRT and RGM……but it should not be always thought to be achievable only around dialog! It shouldn’t be for ‘ensuring certain individuals for positions. Rather, it should be for the good of the country and people based on the good prevailing leadership intentions.
Hence my personal reasons to move and support the new dispensation.