Source: Kaukonde tipped for ZimPF presidency | The Herald February 9, 2017
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
A Zimbabwe People First faction said to be against a coalition with MDC-T has reportedly picked businessman Mr Ray Kaukonde to take over the party leadership from Dr Joice Mujuru, citing irreconcilable differences. Although Mr Kaukonde, who was expelled from zanu-pf alongside Dr Mujuru in 2014 for plotting to against President Mugabe, last night laughed off the claims, The Herald is reliably informed that the faction that is fronted by ZimPF founding member Mr Didymus Mutasa wanted to announce him as the interim leader at the party headquarters yesterday.
Sources said Dr Mujuru caught wind of the plot and pre-empted it by expelling Mr Mutasa and his group before the announcement.
Another ZimPF elder who was expelled by Dr Mujuru, Mr Rugare Gumbo confirmed the plot at a Press conference in Harare yesterday when he said: “I know there have been accusations that (Mr) Kaukonde wants to take over as president, Gumbo wants to take over, Mutasa and Dongo, whatever.
“I want to assure you that as the elders, we don’t want to continue leading this organisation.
“Some of us have been leaders since our Chimurenga days and way before that. And we can’t continue. What we want is to try the right guy who can bring change and hope to the people of Zimbabwe.”
In an interview last night, Mr Kaukonde said: “Mazondisekesa. I think zveyoung leader I agree with them, but I am not young. Ndachembera ini. I have so much to do and on the issue of leadership, I have played my part. Ndakaitawo pangu. Kwave kudawo vadiki vanotakurawo zvinhu zvacho because at one point you go to civilian life and move forward.”
Mr Kaukonde said Mr Mutasa and Mr Gumbo would be the best to talk to over that matter.
The Herald is also informed that there was also a simmering wave of discontentment among senior party members over Dr Mujuru’s leadership style that reached a boiling point three days ago over coalition talks.
Mr Gumbo, reports say, clashed with Dr Mujuru after he said: “We will never have a coalition with “chematama”, referring to MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai. Sources said Mr Gumbo’s remarks irked Dr Mujuru who had all, but agreed to form a coalition with Mr Tsvangirai before next year’s elections.
Another bone of contention that led to the disintegration of the party, was the resolution to reassign Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire from the steering committee of the party.
It is alleged that after a resolution was passed to reassign him, Dr Mujuru overturned it and retained Mr Mavhaire in the steering committee. Further, Dr Mujuru is also said to have clashed with the party’s interim executive of the issue of vice presidency.
Another senior ZimPF member who was expelled by Dr Mujuru, Dr Margaret Dongo said the executive had agreed that the party should have one vice president, but Dr Mujuru insisted on having two deputies. Dr Dongo said their reasoning was that the country’s economy was too small to have two vice presidents.
All members of the Mutasa faction yesterday took turns to lambast Dr Mujuru saying her gross incompetence was the major source of their differences. They accused Dr Mujuru of being dictatorial and having deviated from the party’s founding principles.
Mr Mutasa said: “What sort of a leader is she that we should go and bow down to her when in fact, we are the ones who made her that leader? There is no reason for that. In fact, we are thoroughly fed up with her leadership.”
Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti weighed in saying: “I am not surprised by the purported expulsion, because, in our steering committee, I pointed in her face that now I am losing confidence in your leadership.
“You are demonstrating, beyond doubt, that you are incapable of leading this important mass party. Why? Because you deviating from the founding principles we have laid for this party. You wake up and come to meetings and announce things that were not discussed, announce things which are contrary to our founding principles and principles of the party.
“How do you want us to have confidence in your leadership when you are now exhibiting the one centre-of-power we ran away from Zanu-PF?” Retired Colonel Claudious Makova was blunt, saying it would be an understatement to describe Dr Mujuru as an incompetent leader.
“Last week, we had a steering committee meeting and I told her that if things remained as they are now, party haisimuke iyi,” he said. “The party is not happy because we did not know where we are going with her leadership. She surrounds herself with vanhu vanoera Zhou. Zvino isu tinoera Shoko, where do we come in?
“Yes, we see (President) Mugabe there and Mai Mujuru as his vice. What we did not know is that she is ignorant. Havana chavanoziva. From day one, it will be an understatement to say she was incompetent. Akaenda kuChatham House and while addressing people, she answered her phone. Can you say that she is a leader? Who answers the phone while addressing dignitaries?”
Mr Munacho Mutezo said: “We are a party that believes in democracy. She does not take counsel from the elders who asked her to lead the party.”
Dr Dongo added “I am not surprised, because her style of operation leaves a lot to be desired. I have tried to be diplomatic as Margaret. I am a no-nonsense person, but I am failing to hold on to my diplomacy. To be honest, she has been unprofessional and disrespectful.”
Mr Lucky Kandemiri said he tendered his resignation from the party last month citing lack of capacity from the party leadership.