Professor Welshman Ncube and Hopewell Chin'ono

I stand with Chamisa, says Welshman Ncube… as Chin’ono fights in Biti’s corner

By Nancy Samuriwo

MDC Alliance vice president Welshman Ncube has dismissed as fake news reports that he had left the party led by Nelson Chamisa.

In apparent reference to journalist Hopewell Chni’ono, Ncube said “agents of the regime” were causing rifts in the opposition party while pretending to be supporting Chamisa.

Reports surfaced on social media mid-last week claiming that the former presidential candidate had dumped Chamisa citing constant bickering between Chamisa and the other party vice president, Tendai Biti.

According to the same reports, Ncube had dumped Chamisa also because of infiltration of the camp by former G40 hawks such as Professor Jonathan Moyo, who were kicked out of Zanu-PF in 2017 when Robert Mugabe’s reign was brought to an abrupt end by the military.

But in a stinging response to the allegations, Professor Ncube last night said the reports were instigated by “agents of the regime deployed everywhere including among us”. He reiterated his support for Chamisa and said MDC Alliance was his only political home.

“The agents of the regime deployed everywhere including among us are on a roll with fake and utterly false stories on Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am going nowhere.

“I stand with Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and Lynette Kore in the fight four the people. The MDC Alliance is my home,” Ncube said.

Reports of infighting between Chamisa and Biti resurfaced on Saturday, with journalist Hopewell Chin’ono accused of causing friction by applying pressure on Chamisa to hand Biti the international engagement portfolio which was given to Ncube.

Chin’ono has previously made it clear that he was rooting for Biti to take over that portfolio.

Observers say Chin’ono wants Biti handed the international portfolio so that he can fatten his chances to stand in as the party’s presidential candidate in 2023. Biti is widely respected in the corridors of power in the US.

Chin’ono is not a known MDC Alliance member and openly rooted for Zanu-PF candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the 2018 elections.

Chamisa had apparently removed Biti from international engagements as a strategy to checkmate Biti’s ambitions. The US preference of Biti over Chamisa is well documented with the former US Senator, Jeff Flake, the then Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations sub-committee on Africa, once openly declaring the close relationship between the two.

“Tendai Biti is a friend of this Committee and he’s been here a number of times, and I was pleased to see that you had that among your list of things they could do,” he said, amid reports that America considers Chamisa too risk-averse unlike Biti who can confront Zanu-PF head-on.

During the MDC congress in May 2019, Washington approved a package of US$50 000 for Biti’s campaign. In 2015, Biti was also awarded a fellowship at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC where he was billed to stay for about 9 months.

Just lie Biti, Chin’ono also enjoys close ties with movers and shakers in US Senate especially those linked to African portfolios. He also has access to US Ambassadors, present and past.

In a response that appears calculated at unsettling the Chin’ono camp, Chamisa yesterday heaped praise on veteran opposition Morgan Tsvangirai after a week in which Chin’ono attacked the late Tsvangirai’s legacy.

Said Chamisa in a tweet: “This great man was just more than a leader and father to many. To me, Dr MT was a great companion and confidant. I miss his naughty smile and our happy moments.”

Meanwhile, another MDC Alliance supporter, Pedzisayi Ruhanya stands accused of causing friction especially in the youth structures, yet he is not an active member of the party.

MDC Alliance national chairperson for the Youth Assembly, Tererai Obey Sithole, yesterday came out guns blazing on Ruhanya, saying he was causing chaos in the MDC Alliance leadership “for selfish intents”.

“The last time I checked Pedzisayi Ruhanya wasn’t a member of any of MDC Alliance’s organs. Wondering why he appears to be much informed about issues in the party more than those in the party. It’s totally wrong to undermine existing party organs and cause chaos for selfish intents,” Sithole said.

He added: “We have an obligation to protect the institution that we belong to and its entire leadership. Any efforts meant to deliberately incite the public to lose confidence in the leadership must be cautioned. People must build not to destroy that which they claim to love so dearly.”

Ruhanya had earlier on accused top MDC Alliance officials of working to undermine the party and threatened to name them in public, saying the MDC Alliance could as well forget about winning the 2023 elections.

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