Tsvangirai adviser forms own party

OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief political strategist and chairman of the party’s United States branch, Maxwell Zeb Shumba, has jumped ship and formed his own political outfit — Zimbabwe First (ZimFirst).

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA/MOSES MATENGA

This becomes the fifth opposition party to break away from Tsvangirai’s MDC-T since its formation in 1999.

Tsvangirai appointed Shumba as his strategist in May last year after his former adviser Alex Magaisa had returned to his United Kingdom base. Shumba (52) was among nine other technocrats appointed to advise Tsvangirai to reorganise the party after his crushing third defeat by Zanu PF’s President Robert Mugabe in the 2013 harmonised elections.

ZimFirst was officially launched on Saturday at a colourful ceremony at Shumba’s rural home at Zihundi village, under Chief Mangwende in Murehwa West, Mashonaland East Province.

Addressing scores of party supporters at the launch ceremony, Shumba claimed he had dumped the MDC-T because its leadership was driven by “greed” and “dishonesty”.

“As one of the founder members of the MDC and one of Tsvangirai’s chief strategists, I felt that the movement had lost the vision through greediness,” said Shumba, a founding member of the National Constitutional Assembly and environmental scientist.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

“Everyone in MDC is engaged in dishonesty. For example, while in the US I would secure air tickets for $1 800 for them to travel there, but some of the members would demand first class tickets that cost $11 000, some would even refuse to fly, and what does that portray for a movement that purports to represent the poor people?” Shumba asked.

He said he was ready to usher in a new leadership model premised on servanthood, but remained mum of whether he would consider merging with other opposition parties to challenge Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.

But Tsvangirai through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday said he was unmoved by Shumba’s departure.

“Shumba was based in America and like any Zimbabwean in the Diaspora, he supported the MDC and was promoting our work through our external structure in the US. Like any other Zimbabwean, he reserves his right to form or join a political party of his choice,” Tsvangirai said.


“If he thinks forming yet another party and leading it 10 000 miles away from the national problems is the solution, he is perfectly entitled to it. It is his democratic right to maintain his beliefs that this country should have more political parties than its citizens.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also dismissed Shumba as a “nonentity” and described as “hogwash” claims that the party leadership was greedy.

“All I know is at one time he was chairman of MDC-T US. He left the party and we can’t comment on somebody doing whatever he is doing outside the party. I won’t dignify that kind of nonsense. Let him do what he wants, I won’t come to his level. Those allegations are hogwash and should be dismissed. The party train does not stop just because a dog has barked,” Gutu said.

In his speech during the ZimFirst launch, Shumba said Zimbabweans had been wandering in the wilderness for a long time and now was the time for a new leadership to redirect it to economic prosperity and political stability.

“The final voice is here, no more bags of fertiliser during election campaign time. We are building this nation brick by brick. The final voice is saying no more to a government that feeds on its people. We are not tolerating a government that lies to people, a dishonest system,” Shumba said.

He said his interim leadership comprises of disgruntled former MDC members, mainly those in the Diaspora.

Other parties that have emerged from the MDC-T include the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party, Job Sikhala’s MDC99 although he later disbanded it and rejoined MDC-T, and the collapsed MDC fronted by former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Meanwhile, MDC-T Harare provincial chairman Eric Murai over the weekend conceded that the party was still to recover from the October 2014 congress factional fights as some people within the party were still holding onto personal grudges.

Murai was addressing mourners at the burial of Harare deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva in Hwedza.

Murai said the party needed to be united to brush off the Zanu PF challenge, singling out President Robert Mugabe as the only impediment.

Party youths in distinct camps had tried to outshine each other at the funeral by taking over the proceedings before he called them to order.

“This is not time to show who is who and who is better than who. This is the time to bury our hero. There are people who hold grudges, let’s not keep grudges. Others are still at the City Sports Centre [venue of the MDC-T congress]. Let’s move on,” he said.

Muzuva’s burial was attended by Tsvangirai, his wife Elizabeth, senior party members and council officials.

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27 Comments

  1. atimuzive,atimude,ndewe zanu pf.his like mutambara,atimuzive mupirisa[c.i.o],imharadzi idzodzo.

  2. Until the day you see how poor you are celebrating the poverty around you, whilst those in power are becoming wealthy because it’s about status quo not the people or country is the day one understands that this system has failed you. When you fail to have water in the tap and drill boreholes in the city fir people to carry water with buckets in the city is poverty. When one buys a generator and brags about not expriencing power failure is poverty riddled economy of as long as it’s fine fir me, myself, my family and I then, you are becoming enlightened. Failure to plan for new power generation and water reticulation can’t be blamed in sanctions. Failure to have better roads and railway infrastructure has nothing to do with sanctions. When a leader fails to depart centre stage is all about greed and corruption because one can’t survive without their hands in the treasury of the country. It has never been about leading people to greater heights it about selfishness and prosperity. MDC and Zanu are not the only parties which has thinkers or technocrats if it was so, we wouldn’t be here experiencing this rot. Zimbabwe truly a one party state.

    1. The examples you give are all telling and true in Zimbabwe. we have been in this dire situation long enough. However you seem to be convinced that the blame game from leaders is believable to many a people. You cannot be further from the truth. We all should know by now that all the failures you list are deliberate creations, manifestly quenching the interests of those who rule by force. They publicly declare this daily. Yes greed, corruption and other negatives but if you wield the means of oppression such as ‘GUNS’ and those who gun are willing, then you can tell everyone else to go to hell. You can monopolize national wealth, you can eat, drink or sleep as expensively as you wish when the population is in abject poverty you woudn’t care less.

  3. “If you send two Zimbabweans to the moon they will form three political parties” Prof. Masipula Sthole – how stupid.

    1. All the same with churches in Zim….bizillions of them……but why…Zimbos???

      1. Muteveri waKristu

        Vakuru. Munorwadziwa nei kuti maChurch awande. hamudi kuti vhangeri rifambe? munoshumira aniko imi? Why aren’t you complaining of too many beer halls? instead you complain about churches, beware you may worship the devil unconsciously.

  4. MDC – SHUMBA.

  5. At this rate we are going to have more political parties than Zimbabweans.

  6. kkkkkkkkk,’ more political parties than its citizens’ vangagodii, zvakaoma to unseat a revolutionary party from power. icho!!!.

    1. Difficult but it will be done,its a matter of time.Forming more political parties is a sure sign of greediness,a sign that we are not one as Zimbabweans, shame on us.

  7. The coming in of these opposition political parties is welcome as it will breath new fresh air to the political field which has been dominated by one party for more than 30years. It also shows that people no longer have faith with the ruling party and want a new crop of leaders who will take Zimbabwe to greater heights.

    Let these political parties unite for a common cause to dislodge the ruling party and pave way for a sound democratic country. We thank the ruling party for a job well done and we say go and rest and let other energetic leaders come in.

  8. A true leader is not about confusing people on their way forward to success, where there is no sweat there is no positive results, on with our journey we are nearly there.

  9. Competition is healthy for the country. Zimfirst is the way to go come 2018

  10. Its time Zimbabweans realised that we dont owe zanu pf,mdc t and mdc.They have failed us its time for fresh ideas and freshlegs ,a party which is going to put the interest of the people first.WE tired of high sounding nothings political heurikiries who urinate in our heads and make uus believe its raining.ZIMFIRST is the solution to the political ,economic woes we facing as nation.

  11. The birth of a new party that will focus on peoples needs, a most welcome decision. Thumbs up for Dr Shumba. brick by brick lets rebuild our country.

  12. My neighbor’s half-sister makes $73 an hour on the laptop . She has been without a job for six months but last month her paycheck was $21675 just working on the laptop for a few hours. try here…
    ➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤➤
    w­­w­­w­­.­­i­­n­­f­­o­­p­­a­­y­­5­­0­­.­­c­­o­­m

  13. Hmmmmm zvakaoma. Sekuziva kwangu hapana ma political party 10 anobatana achiita zvinobudirira kunyepa chaiko.iyo shumba inonyepa inotaura zveugreedy hweMDC saka choyofomera party chii? Yakaona vamwe vachiita mari ikati regai ndiite party yangu.yanga yanzwa nekukwenya misana yetuchembere.kkkkk isu hatirasi mbereko nekufirwa,takutosvika

  14. ROBERT NDAURAYANYIKA

    this cecil is zanupf sponsored. enda zvako murugare, kuna chematama ndokwedu. ugotidini– hapanaaaaaaaaaaaa

  15. Zimfirst will bring together all zimboz. Those wit the Fear of Of Change, bayaxamanda . Accept Change.

  16. This is what we need, not everything is ZANU PF… Zimbabwe really needs DR SHUMBA’S VISION. PAMBERI NE ZIMFIRST..

  17. Shumba is a cunning animal perfectly worked in cahoots with Biti to reverse the people`s will.He was Tsvangirai`s adviser and looted MDC monies and did nothing to improve political intelligence in the party.Why was he adamant as to joining forces with other political parties to dislodge the monster if he is a genuine political man who claims to have people of Zimbabwe at heart.His political style is old fashioned,where he wants to pocket the whole loot into his wallet.Am sorry the people of Zimbabwe have had such old fashioned looters before and they no longer have patients to stomach such foolishness any more.Surely we are now able to calculate our moves.Yes Shumba is a free citizen who is permitted by the constitution of the country to form a political party,but not a fund raising party.Please Shumba, the people of Zimbabwe are appealing you to take a merciful decision to help them come out of the Zimbabwean political mess.Do not confuse the electorate and divide their vote to the advantage of the wrong leader.My disclaim,this is my opinion not to represent any individual, organisation, institution, whoever or whatsoever.

    1. There are many things which you seem misinformed which happened in MDC-T. Dr Shumba has never been an egocentric selfish person and saying he stole money that’s far from the truth, these are people trying to tarnish his name, but that doesn’t happen to an innocent person. I don’t know whether you have heard of the story of Joseph in the bible when he was accused of something he had not done, how God intervened? Dr Shumba tried to do his job as Chief Political Strategist but all he advised was falling into deaf ears. He tried to involve other opposition parties with the intention of coming up with a single force to dislodge the regime but because of power hungry people it didn’t turn out so. This is the main reason Dr Shumba parted ways with MDC-T. Obviously MDC-T is bound to come up with their on theories and reasons but the truth will always remain the truth no matter how much people may try to discredit Dr Shumba. He is the man who carries the vision to turnaround our country crisis. Let’s rally behind the vision the future is bright.

  18. It is clear that Zimbabwe needs fresh ideas and fresh legs. Everything has been tried and tested, we still find the country not only in an appalling state but on its knees. Let’s rally behind the ZimFirst vision the future is bright. #zimfirstgettingzimbabweworkingagain.

  19. Zimbabweans always mind each on his bussiness, but in my own opinion people who mind their own bussiness, are the most dangerous people to the nation, This is time for us to unite and face the real problem we face as a nation, Yes Tsvangirai is not a saint, he also has flaws as everyone has, but currently he is charge of the greatest percentage of the grassroots, so Any party formed must first challenge him and after winning him then they move to the next phase, for there are no elections which shall be won by any other party besides ZANU Pf if the opposition continue to divide ( or of individuals continue to fight for titles eg President of the …… Party)

  20. The emergence of numerous political parties is a sure sign of democracy failing. A dictatorship breeds many Political parties. Many are disgruntled and many have different grievances and ultimately have different ways of solving them. We have had two so called major political parties one dominant for 35 years and the other in existence for 15 years but both have so many things in common. Both are monumental failures. The leaders are dictators. Both preach democracy but bith have never encouraged let alone tolerated challenge when they go for congress. The absence of democracy in MDC will continue to result in more leaders and more supporters leaving. The same is true in Zanu and this is where a party like Zimfirst will excell. Zimfirst welcomes all those who have been disgruntled by Zanu’s misrule & By perennial bungling by MDC. As much as haters may want to bash Zimfirst the truth remains there is a political space for a party with fresh ideas and fresh legs. It is no doubt Zimbabweans are ready for an alternative to MDC. And against all the odds Zimfirst will be a big contender in 2018.

  21. Menemene Disorder

    Simba reNgwena riri mumvura. In his political mission as MDC North America chairman, what has Shumba accomplished except chaos. At one point, he called immigration derives to deport a Zimbabwean just because he disagreed with him. MT, from nowhere he ended up with Shumba as his advisor and now where is he? I would prefer being led by a clear cut the if Muliswa than those that come under sheep skin yet they are marouding lions. Shumba achakudyai sezita rake mati madii?

  22. Ha haaaada! Seka zvako mwana wava Bona.
    Zvikati Zvobhidhiritsana iko Bob kamudara kacho kari mwiii

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