HARARE – Eric Knight, an aspiring Mbare MDC MP, has reportedly joined President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
The former ZBC radio and TV presenter and MDC candidate lost the Mbare poll to Zanu PF’s Tendai Savanhu.
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, confirmed that Knight was joining the former liberation movement.
“We have always wanted people like Eric, people with experience in broadcasting and the media so we are naturally excited at having him back home if indeed he has eventually made the decision to join us,” Gumbo said.
“Young people like him are valuable to the party and as such we openly welcome him. We hope he will be an asset to the party so we wait as he undergoes the party procedure to officially become a member.”
Knight yesterday said he was driving when the Daily News reached him for comment, but promised to respond to a text message sent to him which he did not do. He was later not picking his phone.
An sms from his phone read: “I received your message but I am driving out of Harare now, so I will call you later.”
Knight did not make contact after that.
Officials close to Knight told the Daily News that the former DJ had been persuaded to join the ruling party by Leo Mugabe.
Knight’s switch has angered the opposition MDC, which fielded him as its parliamentary candidate but made a volte face after losing the poll.
Obert Gutu, the MDC Harare Province spokesperson, said while his party had no good reason to believe that Knight was not genuine in his parliamentary bid, there were some in the province who doubted if he was indeed a bona fide member.
He said the party had learnt a lesson to value its tried and tested cadres to avoid accommodating chancers.
“As MDC Harare province, we had no reason to believe that Eric Knight was not a genuine and dedicated party cadre,” Gutu told the Daily News.
“We are advised that he was an active MDC member in the UK where he is ordinarily based.
“The truth is some party cadres in Harare province were not entirely convinced about Eric Knight’s qualification to contest the Mbare constituency primary elections.
“Going forward as Harare Province, we have learnt a hard lesson, that is, it is better for the party to stick to genuine, long-standing cadres instead of accommodating chancers and opportunists.”