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Mujuru's People First hits stormy waters

by Tichaona Zindoga
10 Jun 2016 at 06:37hrs | Views
Zimbabwe People First led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru appears headed for a split as senior members are haggling over positions and the ideology it must pursue.

ZPF, which was formed earlier this year, has revolved around Mujuru, who was expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF last year along the likes of Messrs Didymus Mutasa (formerly Zanu-PF secretary for Administration), Rugare Gumbo (Information and Publicity) plus a horde of other party and Government stalwarts.

The party is scheduled to hold its inaugural congress later this year.

However, a rift has grown over leadership of the party between a clique close to Mujuru, which includes former Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and former Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and other members.

It is understood that Mutasa and Gumbo want to be careened by Mujuru into senior positions like vice president and chairman, but this has not gone down well with the others who want not only the positions to be elected, but also that Mutasa and Gumbo be given ceremonial roles in what is dubbed a "Council of Elders".

Yesterday, deputy spokesperson of the party, Retired Lt Col Kudzai Mbudzi brought the war out in the open slating Mutasa and Gumbo for holding Mujuru "hostage".

He said Mujuru could not constitutionally "anoint" leaders in the party, nor was she the "one centre of power" in the party.

"There are . . . some people who are trying by all means to hold Mai Mujuru hostage so that she glorifies their appointments into certain positions," said Rtd Col Mbudzi in a statement.

"If she resists those attempts on constitutional grounds, sometimes they overreact and become slow to visualise and internalise her long-term objectives. If some individuals would not circumstantially see reason to take a much deserved rest, we urge them to go through the mill at the national elective congress. We must be categorical that we allow people to aspire for any position within the party, even that of being the party president.

"If anyone wants to challenge our chosen brand Mai Mujuru for the party presidency, one is free to do so at the national convention. But alas, Mai Mujuru does not have the power, mandate nor authority to anoint the appointment of certain individuals into their preferred positions," he added.

Rtd Col Mbudzi urged Mutasa to form his own party if he wanted a lofty position for "his pleasurable personal ego".

"We have come together from all walks of political life to push for the total liberation and freedom of Zimbabwe and not for liberation of certain individuals towards a pleasurable life of glorious plunder of national resources masked by slogans of a people's struggle.

"About forming a political party, I am not sure, but if VaMutasa and colleagues honestly believe they have a political market and are therefore a strong political brand outside Zimbabwe People First, they should then not be ashamed to market it. If VaMutasa then wants to form a political party so that he quickly elevates his pleasurable personal ego to higher political platforms he thus aspires to achieve in life, so let it be. We will simply say to them welcome to the real world of boys and men. But I don't think VaMutasa will thus be unwisely guided to see it viable to form a political party purportedly for the future of Zimbabwe at such an advanced age in his life. If he wanted to do so, he could have done it much earlier in life when he still was more energetic to drive such a vision."

Contacted for comment, Mutasa said if Rtd Col Mbudzi had issues with him and others, he should have brought it through the normal party lines.

He also referred questions to Gumbo, who is the party spokesman.

"Ndezvavo havo VaMbudzi," he said dismissively.

"I do not believe it is coming from him because if Mbudzi is concerned, he can talk to me directly not through the media. He has the opportunity to talk to me.

"Chinyora kudaro kuti VaMutasa vati, why should he talk to me through newspapers when I am here and available for him to take that offensive?" he said.

The squabbles in the party come as some key members, youth leaders, Jim Kunaka and Kudzai Saruwaka have rejoined the ruling Zanu-PF citing lack of direction at ZPF.

An exodus from the new party is afoot amid reports that many former Zanu-PF members in its ranks have applied to be readmitted into the revolutionary party.

Source - the herald