MDC Alliance MP for Goromonzi South, Rueben Chikudo has jumped ship to join the MDC-T party led by Douglas Mwonzora.
This comes as the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has been losing legislators through recalls and defections since last year’s Supreme Court ruling that conferred the MDC presidency to Thokozani Khupe.
Soon after the ruling, some MPs decided to align themselves with the Chamisa faction, prompting Khupe to recall some of them while others publicly declared their support for the court ruling. Chikudo, who stood with Chamisa at the time, becomes the latest MP to shift his allegiance to the MDC now led by Mwonzora amid reports that he has been attending the party’s meetings and caucusing with it in Parliament of late.
Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba confirmed the development, saying he was welcomed by the MDC Goromonzi structures last Friday. “Goromonzi South MP…Chikudo defected to MDC-T and he was welcomed by the Goromonzi district executive and me on Friday afternoon” Damba said in a terse statement yesterday.
Chikudo however, told the Daily News yesterday that had always been with the MDC. “The fact of the matter is that I have not moved an inch; I am exactly where I stood yesterday. I have not crossed the floor. I remain MDC-T, which is the largest party within the alliance and legally leads the MDC Alliance pact,” Chikudo said.
When the Daily News put it to him that it is public knowledge that he had been working with the Chamisa camp until now, attending their parliamentary caucus and other meetings, Chikudo said there was nothing amiss about that. “As MP, I attend all developmental meetings and events in my constituency regardless of political affiliation, development knows no politics,” he said.
Some of the first MPs to publicly ditch Chamisa for Mwonzora since the court ruling include David Tekeshe (Makoni Central), Joice Makonya and Virginia Mafuta (both proportional representation), Peter Moyo (Southerton) and Winnie Kankuni (Sunningdale), among dozens others. The MPs defied a directive by Chamisa at the time to disengage from Parliament to protest the recall of MDC Alliance secretary general Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana), national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo, chief whip Prosper Mutseyami (Mutare Central) and Midlands Senator Lillian Timveous.
At the time, Mafuta told the Daily News that she decided to defy Chamisa’s directive after she allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of fellow MPs in the party, who were accusing her of backing Mwonzora. Moyo on the other hand questioned why Chamisa wanted them to withdraw from Parliament for the sake of the four recalled MPs when he had failed to do the same after he lost the 2018 presidential election.