Blessing Chebundo

Blessing Chebundo is a Zimbabwean politician, a member of parliament and was a leading figure in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) until his defection to Zanu PF on 24 February 2021. He rose to fame by defeating Emmerson Mnangagwa in a contest to represent Kwekwe constituency in the Parliament of Zimbabwe in the 2000 parliamentary election. Mnangagwa, a heavyweight in ZANU-PF, was predicted to easily win the constituency, but Chebundo won the seat despite threats to his life. As an incumbent, he again defeated Mnangagwa and was re-elected in the March 2005 parliamentary election.

Background

Chebundo was born on 8 October 1958 and is a founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change, a political party that was formed in September 1999. He represented Kwekwe constituency in the Parliament of Zimbabwe since the watershed elections of 2000. Before the formation of the MDC, Chebundo had been the Vice-Chairman of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for the Central Region; he was also National Treasurer of the Zimbabwe Chemical & Allied Workers Union from 1990 to 2000. He served as the MDC's Secretary of Health from 2001 to 2005 and had been a member of its National Executive Committee since 2006.

MDC Split

Chebundo initially joined the 'rebels', led by Welshman Ncube, that broke away from the MDC. However, Chebundo eventually rejoined the main MDC, citing the wishes of the members of his constituency in Kwekwe.

Losing The MDC Alliance Primary Elections

The former Kwekwe Central MDC MP lost in Kwekwe Central MDC Alliance primary elections held in 2020 to Judith Tobaiwa. The MDC Alliance held the internal party elections ahead of the cancelled parliamentary by-elections in 2020 to replace the late Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo who died the same year. Chebundo’s political fortunes took a knock in 2013 after he was defeated by Matambanadzo and also suffered defeat from the same candidate in the 2018 polls.

In 2000, Chebundo stunned many when he defeated now president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa in parliamentary elections. Mnangagwa was later forced to contest in a rural constituency Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe, which he surrendered to his wife in 2014 when he was appointed Vice President by the now late President Robert Mugabe.

Defecting to Zanu PF

Blessing Chebundo and Lilian Timveos dumped the Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora-led led opposition parties and joined the ruling Zanu PF on 24 February 2021. The event took place at the State House in Harare where they were accepted into Zanu PF by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga. Chebundo is the former MP for Kwekwe Urban and in 2020 had crossed the floor from the MDC Alliance, to join the MDC-T led by Mwonzora.[1]

Timveos and Chebundo defecting to Zanu PF at State House

References

  1. [1], New Zimbabwe, Published: 24 February, 2021, Accessed: 24 February, 2021