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Mzembi, Gandawa quit People's Party amid terrorism set-up fears

by Staff reporter
07 May 2020 at 16:47hrs | Views
Exiled former tourism minister Walter Mzembi on Wednesday quit the fledgling People's Party which he founded citing what he called unresolvable "internal contradictions".

Mzembi's deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, also quit amid claims that the party's interim secretary-general Lloyd Msipa may have been working with Zanu-PF to tie the party's leaders to a terrorism plot. Msipa denies the allegations.

Mzembi and Gandawa's exit brings to an end a chaotic one-and-a-half weeks for the party which saw ugly public exchanges between its senior leaders and Msipa.

Msipa earlier announced he had suspended treasurer-general Agrippa Masiyakurima after the latter accused him of attempting to hijack the party in a bid to form an alliance with the Tyson waBantu Movement, which is linked to the exiled former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Masiyakurima refused to step down and instead issued his own statement saying he had suspended Msipa.

"Having failed to resolve internal contradictions that have recently bedeviled the People's Party, we have reached a decision together with my deputy, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, to step down from our positions in the interest of the party," a statement issued by Mzembi and co-signed by Gandawa read.

Mzembi said their positions in the presidency had become a stumbling block and the two had decided to surrender the party to Msipa who joined the party after quitting Zanu-PF and expressing disappointment with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"The party was started with the sole objective of facilitating democratic change in Zimbabwe and that sacrosanct goal remains bigger than any individual, including those occupying the presidency," Mzembi added.
"In that vein, we have decided to hand over control of the party to secretary-general Lloyd Msipa. We wish the party good success in its democratic endeavour."
A source close to developments said Mzembi and Gandawa had hurriedly stepped down after uncovering an alleged plot to link them to terrorism offences, claims echoed by Masiyakurima in a series of unrestrained Twitter posts.

"They picked up credible intelligence that there was a plot by Zanu-PF to link the party to terrorism through the secretary-general who was attempting to make Twitter contact with Islamist insurgents in Mozambique," Kukurigo quoted an insider as saying.

"There was a very real fear that the secretary general's actions were calculated to implicate Mzembi and Gandawa to create a basis for their deportation from South Africa where they are living in exile."

Msipa, now interim leader, dismissed the terrorism claims saying he had merely spoken about the implications of Zimbabwe deploying troops to counter the Islamist insurgency in Mozambique and had since deleted the tweets.

"Agrippa is a madman; I have no idea where that (alleged terrorism set up) came from. Like most Zimbabweans, I commented on the implications of the possible deployment of Zimbabwean troops to Mozambique," Msipa said.

On Mzembi and Gandawa's exit, he paid generous tribute but was vague on the circumstances leading to their sudden departure.

"Like all founding fathers, they remain the heart and soul of the People's Party," he said.

Mzembi and Gandawa did not respond to requests for comment.


Source - Kukurigo

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