Fungi Kwaramba 10 February 2017
HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is apparently so concerned
about the ugly fallout between Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) interim leader
Joice Mujuru and the party’s founding fathers, that he phoned one of these
stalwarts on Wednesday – Didymus Mutasa – to express his disquiet about
the damaging ructions.
But despite his disappointment with the turmoil engulfing ZPF, the Daily
News understands that the former prime minister in the government of
national unity has also given Mujuru some oxygen of sorts by re-affirming
his commitment to working with her in the mooted grand opposition
alliance, which is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
Mutasa confirmed yesterday that a concerned Tsvangirai had indeed enquired
from him about the farcical ZPF events of Wednesday, in which Mujuru fired
her top lieutenants, including Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo – who responded in
kind by summarily sacking the former vice president from the fledgling
“Tsvangirai phoned me about what is happening and I told him that he
should ask Mujuru,” Mutasa said.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, also confirmed to the Daily
News yesterday that his boss was very worried about the events unfolding
within ZPF, but said there was “no turning back” on the opposition’s
“We cannot comment on what is happening at a neighbour’s house even if
that neighbour is a friend, suffice to say that the president sees the
developments as unfortunate.
“It is also unfortunate that it is the opposition that is attracting the
negative publicity when the real culprit (Zanu PF) is watching from the
“But the decision to form a coalition has been made by the national
assembly and we will stand by that,” Tamborinyoka said.
In an unexpected bombshell that shook both the opposition movement and
ordinary Zimbabweans alike, Mujuru on Wednesday morning announced that she
had expelled the founding elders of the party 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.
Gumbo said Mujuru had “revealed to all and sundry” that she was incapable
of leading an opposition party, and was therefore not fit to hold such an
“She has declared war on us and the die has been cast. We don’t think that
she is the right person to lead us. We no longer recognise her as the
leader of People First,” Gumbo said at the packed media event which was
also attended by the other supposedly expelled members.
Weighing in, Mutasa said even though the elders were still to settle for
her successor, one thing they were sure about was that they were “tired”
of her style of leadership.
“We are not surprised by her irrational and emotional decision purporting
to expel us. In fact, at the time she held her press conference, we were
waiting for her at the party offices as she had told us that we should
wait for her since she was at the Trauma Centre.
“She has no right to expel us. Mujuru was in fact appointed by us the
founders of the party to lead the party as the interim president,” Mutasa
thundered in remarks that don’t bode well for the
“An intelligent Mujuru would not have expelled VaGumbo and Mutasa. She has
not got even a modicum of intelligence,” Mutasa added mockingly.
But a defiant Mujuru said yesterday that the expulsion of the founding
elders and five other officials was good riddance, as they were allegedly
Her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro told the Daily News that they now felt that
they no longer had damaged goods within their ranks and would thus be able
to negotiate better with other political parties as they endeavoured to
form the mooted grand coalition against Zanu PF.
“Nothing has changed over the talks. ZPF remains focussed on the talks . .
. Mujuru is the face of the party and she is the one who was given the
mandate to engage all other progressive opposition leaders to ensure that
we confront Zanu PF as a united front,” he said.
But as Nyandoro spoke, dozens of other party stalwarts were deserting the
burning new kid on the political block yesterday, putting its future in
Amid the chaos, Mujuru has been working behind the scenes with Tsvangirai
and other smaller opposition parties towards the formation of the planned
In addition, Zanu PF apparatchiks have lately been working overtime to
discredit Mujuru, in what observers have described as a desperate bid to
scupper Tsvangirai’s ongoing coalition talks with her.
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.
Since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him in the
streets of Gweru in August last year – in a rare public display of unity
among the opposition – there have been growing calls by fed up citizens
for the formation of a grand opposition alliance.
Earlier this week, Tsvangirai 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