Opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has lost several key members of his party in Mashonaland East province following a massive recruitment drive by his rival, MDC Renewal Team.
A campaign team led by former Marondera mayor Farai Nyandoro, who is MDC Renewal Team’s deputy organising secretary recently lured several key members of Tsvangirai’s party to the Renewal Team.
In a telephone interview, Nyandoro could neither confirm nor deny that he was leading a team targeting MDC-T heavyweights in the province.
“I do not have comments over the issue, but I can tell you that I am in Murewa right now meeting people under the Renewal Team ticket,” Nyandoro said.
However, a top party official said: “The Nyandoro-led team is currently on a massive mobilisation and recruitment drive. People were thirsty to hear what Renewal Team stands for and what they mean when they say they want to go back to the founding values and principles that have been abused by Tsvangirai.
“The Renewal Team has been to eight districts in the province so far and has set structures. They are now aiming to visit the last district before a provincial council meeting to be held aimed at providing strategic plans.
“A number of MDC-T heavyweights from this province have joined the Renewal Team and this month they are going to launch what they term Orange Day, a first massive rally in the province.”
The list of former MDC-T provincial heavyweights who have crossed the floor include former Marondera MP Ian Kay, ex-Murewa MP Wadi Nezi, and national executive member Jimmy Jalifu, losing parliamentary candidates for Murewa North Jimmy Jombo and Emmanuel Chinopfumbuka and former Marondera East councillor Samuel Machekanyanga, among others.
MDC-T provincial chair Piniel Denga was not reachable.
In the 2008 elections, the MDC-T won a couple of seats in the province before losing all during the July 2013 harmonised elections.
The province has been on the forefront calling for Tsvangirai to step down with Kay describing the former Premier as a “rusty bolt” that needed to be changed following his third successive crushing defeat to President Robert Mugabe.