BY MOSES MATENGA/ GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
FORMER MDC Alliance deputy treasurer-general Lillian Timveos, who recently defected to Zanu PF, has confirmed long-held fears that the ruling party was plotting to decimate the opposition party ahead of the 2023 elections after she claimed at the weekend that President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who she described as “my father”, had given her a “special task”.
The former MDC Alliance top executive was unveiled together with former MDC-T secretary for local government, Blessing Chebundo at State House in Harare recently.
“I saw it fit to come to Zanu PF. It doesn’t make sense that the President (Mnangagwa) is from here (Zvishavane) and yet he has never won in this area,” said Timveos, a former member of the late MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai’s infamous “kitchen Cabinet”.
“That must change in 2023. Don’t be afraid that I am here for positions. My father, the President, gave me a task to do, so don’t be afraid that I am here for positions. I am here to work for the party, don’t worry,” she told Zanu PF supporters in Zvishavane on Saturday.
Timveos, however, could not disclose the nature of the task given to her, but Zanu PF sources said she had been tasked to divulge opposition party secrets and lure more top MDC Alliance officials to the ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections.
The former MDC Alliance Zvishavane senator, who until recently was part of Nelson Chamisa’s inner circle, added: “I say he (Mnangagwa) is the people’s President because of the way I was welcomed in Zanu PF. You all know me and I am one of the people who thought Zanu PF was bad and I was very afraid, but it only took phone call, phone call after phone call for me to be where I am today. I can’t say much, but there are people I came with from the MDC Alliance.”
Her remarks came shortly after former MDC Alliance Masvingo Central MP Jeffreyson Chitando last week claimed that Zanu PF was planning to launch Operation Armageddon that would see it taking over service delivery tasks in all urban areas from the MDC Alliance councils as part of efforts to lure votes.
Zanu PF national commissar Victor Matemadanda last week disclosed that they were targeting over five million votes for Mnangagwa in 2023.
This, he said, would be achieved by fishing from the MDC Alliance pond, whose leader Chamisa got over 2,1 million votes against the Zanu PF leader’s 2,4 million in the 2018 presidential poll.
Matemadanda said they were expecting more defections from MDC Alliance in the coming few days.
“At that rate, we will reach 2023 with only five people or no one from the MDC Alliance. We are mobilising people even from MDC Alliance and all their formations, Mthwakazi and other parties,” Matemadanda told NewsDay.
Zanu PF’s Operation Armageddon, according to Chitando, would see line ministries superintend over key services such as waste collection and water distribution in urban centres to portray the opposition as failures.
“Zanu PF is in panic mode as the urban voter population is rapidly increasing, while the rural population is drastically decreasing,” Chitando told NewsDay.
“Operation Armageddon will see Zanu PF taking over the service delivery of urban areas from the MDC Alliance councillors. The President (Mnangagwa) has instructed every ministry to identify areas of intervention in line with their ministries’ line of operation.
“Roads, housing, sewage, refuse collections, education and health will be taken from city councils and placed under line ministries,” he said.
Chitando further alleged that to ensure that the operation succeeded, the Zanu PF plan was that Mnangagwa and various high-ranking officials would literally camp in urban areas where they would officially commission various projects in a bid to lure urban voters.
“Zanu PF is coming to cities armed with Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration)’s millions of dollars to repair roads and then they will blame MDC Alliance councillors for failing to maintain the roads,” Chitando said.
But Zanu PF provincial political commissar for Masvingo Jevas Masosota rubbished Chitando’s assertions saying: “He is just hallucinating. It’s not Zanu PF that neglected service delivery for decades. Since the MDC took over councils in 2000 they proved that they were only good in talking. They only got into councils for self-aggrandisement — nothing else,” Masosota said.
MDC Alliance officials said they were aware of the ruling party’s machinations to destabilise the opposition party through blackmail and “sponsored defections”.
“Zanu PF is desperate and is using all sorts of tactics to derail the people’s project, but this will not work. They have tried everything they can to destroy us, but our power rests in the people not in those renegades they are parading as defectors. Zanu PF has nothing to offer the people, hence they are engaging in these archaic tactics,” MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said.