ZANU PF national acting political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa Saturday made a chilling warning to MDC Alliance activists against intimidating its members who defect to the ruling party.
Chinamasa was speaking at a Zanu PF meeting held at Marymount Teachers college in Mutare, where some former MDC Alliance members who crossed over to ruling party were paraded before senior officials including acting national spokesperson Mike Bimha, Manicaland chair Mike Madiro and central committee member Gertie Mutandi.
Among them were former Zengeza west legislator Simon Chidhakwa, former Mutare ward two councilor Pamela Mutare, Pauline Hendeni and former Chipinge district chair Chadamoyo Machingura.
Chinamasa said: "I have been informed through various reports that there are MDC members who are now scaring and intimidating those who are defecting to Zanu PF. We are aware from the onset that MDC is a violent party but let them be warned not to play with fire," Chinamasa charged.
"We are ruling this country hence you cannot intimidate a ruling party and it is not possible. Who are you to stop people from joining the ruling party? If I hear these complains again you will be in for it," he warned.
The warnings come at a time report indicated that former MDC Alliance legislator for Dangamvura-Chikanga Prosper Mutseyami was heard intimidating one of the defectors.
Chinamasa directed his salvos at him saying: "He lost an election somewhere in rural areas and decided to contest in town where the track record is not known. Right now, we are expecting a by-election, but he has already lost that battle. Go and him/her that we are against the move to intimidate people within their homesteads."
In July 2013, Mutseyami was elected MP for Musikavanhu constituency in Chipinge, but opted to contest for the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency in 2018, beating Zanu PF's Esau Mupfumi by a very wide margin.
He was however later recalled by the MDC-T in 2019 at the height of factional divisions between Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora.
Zanu PF Mutare district co-ordination committee (DCC) chair Binali Yard claimed in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com they welcomed about 400 defectors.
"This incident is one of a kind. Zanu PF is like granny Chaza's bus which has got an unlimited carrying capacity. We warmly welcome these new members who have joined us and they must feel at home. I don't have the exact number but we have welcomed more than 400 members who have joined the revolutionary party after defecting from MDC Alliance," Binali said, adding none of defectors were enticed by money to join Zanu PF Manicaland.
However, writing on twitter, Chinamasa later confirmed welcoming 700 members who ditched MDC Alliance.