Ndakaziva Majaka 12 February 2017
HARARE – The ruckus in the troubled Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party took
a surprise turn yesterday when one of the outfit’s disaffected founding
fathers, Didymus Mutasa, said it was possible that they could reconcile
with former Vice President Joice Mujuru if she apologised for her disputed
“dismissal” of senior party officials last week.
At the same time, it also emerged yesterday that Mujuru was digging in
about the control and use of the fledgling party’s image rights, which
Mutasa and other party stalwarts stubbornly say belong to them.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News On Sunday
yesterday, Mutasa said despite the party elders’ stunning fallout with
Mujuru, they were ready to let “by-gones be by-gones” – hardly a week
after they acrimoniously parted ways with her.
“If she (Mujuru) invites us to work with her, we will consider that. We
have been working with her all along and she is saying we wanted to expel
her, that we wanted to stage a coup, which is as I said, a figment of her
“We will consider it if she actually asks us to work with her. We are the
People First, VaGumbo and I are the founders of this People First party
and it was formed and given that name in my house and we invited Mai
Mujuru and she came here, and that is where we requested her if she could
lead us and, she accepted to lead us in this house.
“You are probably going to see new leadership very soon, that is all I can
say because we want to find somebody who is acceptable to the people of
this country,” Mutasa said.
The former State Security minister and Zanu PF secretary for
administration, also said despite their fallout with Mujuru, negotiations
for a grand opposition coalition would continue under the banner of the
National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera).
“The talks for a grand coalition still go on. I have talked to (opposition
leader Morgan) Tsvangirai and also senior members of his party like Amai
(Theresa) Makone and (Morgen) Komichi and they feel most upset about what
has happened … and we are ready ourselves to join others to work
together to get rid of the suffering of our people,” Mutasa said.
In a bombshell that shook both the opposition movement and ordinary
Zimbabweans alike, Mujuru announced on Wednesday morning that she had
expelled ZPF’s founding fathers Gumbo and Mutasa, together with five other
party heavyweights – on account of them being alleged Zanu PF agents and
working to topple her from her interim position.
“Having done extensive consultation within the rank and file of the party
and also in my capacity as the president with the executive authority to
ensure its wellbeing, I hereby announce the expulsion of the following
members from Zimbabwe People First with immediate effect: Rugare Gumbo,
Didymus Mutasa, Margaret Dongo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Luckson Kandemiri,
Munacho Mutezo and Claudious Makova,” she said.
But no sooner had she completed her briefing than the situation turned
into a complete farce, when Mutasa and Gumbo announced at their own press
conference that they had similarly expelled Mujuru from ZPF.
Mutasa and Gumbo have since taken control of the party’s affairs after
they claimed that they were the owners of the fledgling opposition party
and its image rights.
In the meantime, Mujuru is said to be mulling changing the name of the
party to avoid a messy fight with the former stalwarts, who were among her
closest allies during their time in Zanu PF.
Amid the chaos, Mujuru has been working behind the scenes with Tsvangirai
and other smaller opposition parties towards the formation of the planned
Analysts have also consistently said that a united opposition, fighting
with one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule – especially at
this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail
nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.
Recently, Tsvangirai also said Mujuru had proved to be a significant
opposition player – and that the two would work together with others to
dethrone Mugabe and Zanu PF from power next year.
Mujuru was expelled from Zanu PF together with Gumbo and Mutasa in the
run-up to the ruling party’s sham “elective congress” in December 2014, on
untested allegations of plotting to assassinate and topple Mugabe from