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Prominent Bulawayo businessperson Kidwell Mujuru, who twice unsuccessfully stood as an independent parliamentary candidate, has defected from MDC-T to join Zanu PF, claiming he was forced to take the decision because of tribalism in the opposition party.

Mujuru, who has business concerns in Luveve and has a farm in Nyamandlovu, at the weekend said he was frustrated in the MDC-T by some officials who felt he was becoming "too influential" in the party in Bulawayo.

"It's true that I have left MDC-T and joined Zanu PF where I have been well received," he said.

"There are some people in the MDC-T who felt, for a Shona, I was having too much power in the party in Bulawayo and chose to frustrate me, that is why they rigged last year's primary elections here in Luveve/Cowdray Park and I had to stand as an independent. It's public record that the primaries were rigged and Reggie Moyo, who has now joined the MDC renewal team, became the party candidate and went on to win.  The former provincial MDC-T organiser, Albert Mhlanga, confessed on the rigging issue and this was carried by the media."

Mujuru said he was baffled why some officials in MDC-T did not want him in the party simply because he was Shona-speaking when Bulawayo is a Metropolitan area.

"I grew up here in Luveve and you can see from the results of elections in 2008 and 2013 when I stood as an independent there are quite a lot of people who back me as an individual," he said.

"Even if you look at my national registration number it is prefixed with 08 meaning I was born here in Bulawayo. Obviously, I would not try to be a Member of Parliament in rural Matabeleland, say Nkayi, but I see nothing wrong with being MP in a city like Bulawayo which is a melting pot of different cultures. I am even supporting a new number of economically disadvantaged pupils in some schools here in Luveve through paying their school fees (sic)."

Mujuru said what had also frustrated him in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led outfit was that after the lifting of the suspension on 76 MDC-T officials who stood as independent MPs or councillors, he was not allowed to contest for any party position in the run-up to the political organisation's extra-ordinary congress after MDC-T's loss to Zanu PF.

"It was quite undemocratic for a party that claims to be democratic to bar me from standing for any party position," he said. "But that is now water under the bridge as I have been well received in my new home, Zanu PF,  and as a person with a farm  in Nyamandlovu  and, therefore, a beneficiary of the land reform programme, I feel I am not lost," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from MDC-T Bulawayo spokesperson, Mandla Sibanda, yesterday were fruitless.

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