THE mainstream opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Zanu PF has infiltrated its structures by planting intelligence agents and sponsoring some top-ranking officials to destabilise the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, MDC president Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, said the party had information to the effect that Zanu PF had infiltrated its structures to cause havoc in the party.
He said the MDC leadership would soon launch an investigation to unmask the officials, “some of whom are believed to be members of the highly influential National Executive Committee (NEC)”.
Sibanda said the officials were receiving cash inducements to destablise the party and malign Chamisa. The revelations come at a time the MDC is in the middle of an internal implosion with some officials pushing for the arrest of secretary-general Chalton Hwende and Chamisa on allegations of misappropriating up to ZW$2 million, part of which was money received from Treasury under the Political Parties Finance Act.
MDC officials, however, rubbished the allegations which they believe are meant to soil Chamisa and the party’s image. They also pointed out that it was, in fact, the opposition leader who called for an audit of the party’s finances to enhance transparency. They also insist that Chamisa was not a signatory of the party’s accounts.
There are reports of serious divisions pitting the old guard and emerging young academics, which Chamisa is being accused of siding with in the battle for control of the opposition movement.
The nasty infighting, which has also rocked MDC-controlled urban areas, is threatening to rip the 21-year-old movement apart and diminish its chances of winning the 2023 general elections.
Sources said battle lines have been drawn between a group in the party calling itself the “academic group”, which has Chamisa’s blessings, against another camp going by the moniker the “organic group”, comprising mainly the old guard. The organic group is aligned to Chamisa’s long-term rival Douglas Mwonzora, who is also the party’s deputy secretary for international relations.
Sibanda said divisions were caused by Zanu PF infiltration tactics. He, however, added that Chamisa remains firmly and unshakably grounded in the party and such acts are destined to fail.
“There is a massive spread of fake information about the party and its leader president Nelson Chamisa. It is now known for sure that Zanu PF is paying some of our top officials to discredit our president and the party, but he has a convincing vision to extricate the country from the current economic malaise. Zanu PF is using a strategy based on a wrong conception of who Chamisa is. He is a very calculating leader who is not given to kneejerk reactions,” Sibanda said.
Asked if the party has identified those receiving cash inducements from Zanu PF, Sibanda said: “Investigations are being conducted to establish the actual circumstances but they are known. Some of them are even in the NEC.
We can see their actions in the media and on the social networks. Their strategy will not work because president Chamisa is unshakable and is the most legitimate politician in the country.
“Those guys are only wasting their time because, as it stands, no one can challenge president Chamisa and they know it. They better go and join Zanu PF so that they don’t have to trouble themselves by operating covertly.”
He said most of the dirty work is being undertaken by state security agents from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who are also targeting other pro-democracy organisations.
“The CIO are allocated a large amount of money in the annual budgets and we are aware that much of those funds are to be paid to infiltrators who will be used to monitor and destroy the MDC and others perceived by Zanu PF to be a threat to them,” Sibanda said. “We are aware that a lot of pro-democracy organisations have already been infiltrated by state security agents and Zanu PF supporters and we are already aware of such infiltrators.”
He said the party was aware that Zanu PF would soon sponsor staged defections as a strategy to portray the MDC as a collapsing party, scoring cheap propaganda points in the process.
“We are aware of all those tactics and we are working on countering them because we know that Zanu PF will intensify its dirty tactics as the elections draw closer,” Sibanda said.
— Zimbabwe Independent