BARELY three months after its launch, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party has hit turbulent waters amid vicious squabbles and reports that some of the leading lights are mulling re-joining Zanu PF.
By Herbert Moyo
There are reports that Mujuru’s project has been seriously infiltrated and is being destroyed from within.
ZimPF was launched at an upmarket hotel in March, but has in the past week experienced serious in-fighting which reached a crescendo last Friday when party youths converged at Mujuru’s house demanding that she and other interim leaders step down.
The party is scheduled to hold its first congress in October.
Party members have gone as far as passing a vote-of-no-confidence in Bulawayo provincial co-ordinator Esnath Bulayani, accusing her of misconduct and disregarding the opposition party’s draft constitution.
Interim party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the party was facing problems and said efforts “were underway to identify the root causes and find solutions, and only then would we communicate its position with the press”.
Apart from Mujuru, the interim leadership includes former senior Zanu PF and government officials like Didymus Mutasa, Sylvester Nguni, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Rugare Gumbo and Bright Matonga. They were kicked out of Zanu PF along with Mujuru ahead of the party’s December 2014 congress on allegations of plotting the ouster and assassination of President Robert Mugabe.
However, ZimPF insiders say that some of the officials who are career politicians have grown disillusioned with Mujuru as she is unable to offer opportunities for patronage and self-interest since she was kicked out of government and Zanu PF. As a result some of them have been involved in talks over possible re-admission into Zanu PF.
“Most of them are characters who have never known anything else but the sheltered life of patronage where positions and proximity to power in Zanu PF enabled them to access and amass personal fortunes in the form of cars, houses and land, among other things,” said a party insider who refused to be named.
Other senior officials who were also fired for backing Mujuru include former ministers Nicholas Goche, Webster Shamu, Francis Nhema and former deputy minister Fortune Chasi. Shamu, Goche and Chasi have not associated with ZimPF and have applied to be re-admitted into Zanu PF.
“My understanding is that these people are querying the procedures that led to their expulsion and perhaps they want to go back (to Zanu PF),” Gumbo said. ZimPF insiders say unless Mujuru moves fast to stop the infighting and mobilising support she might soon be left with a shell party.