Fungi Kwaramba 1 April 2017
HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s newly-launched National
People’s Party (NPP) is struggling to get out of first gear – this coming
hardly a month after she left the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party under
a cloud, following her nasty public fallout with its founding fathers.
But just as Mujuru was beginning to think she had put her ZPF problems
behind, the NPP is already starting to unravel spectacularly – with
matters coming to a head on Thursday when two of her top aides engaged in
a nasty public brawl.
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mujuru now risked
losing both her party base, as well as the support of prospective
opposition coalition partners if she failed to act decisively on the
problems bedevilling the NPP.
University of Zimbabwe politics expert Eldred Masunungure warned that
Mujuru and the NPP also faced the risk of contesting the
eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections in a weakened state.
“There is a combination of several factors at play here. Of course, the
question of the third force looms large in the dynamics that are at play
in the party. There is clearly infiltration of the party by the forces we
all know, the State security agents, to cause havoc in the party or in any
other organisation that Mujuru might form.
“The other point is that Mujuru may not have the power to control the
party in the way (President Robert) Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have done, and when that happens the mice will have a field
“In other words, she is not in charge and her followers are not respecting
her,” Masunungure added.
On Thursday, tensions within the struggling NPP boiled over when rash
party spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, viciously attacked and then
allegedly threatened to kill her personal spin doctor, Gift Nyandoro, in
incredible scenes which shocked guests at a Harare hotel.
The two NPP comrades-turned-enemies clashed over a reckless statement
which was penned by Mawarire last weekend, which stunned the country’s
opposition movement – as it ran against the spirit of the planned grand
coalition which is set to take on Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF in next
In the poorly-conceived statement, Mawarire launched an astonishing attack
on Tsvangirai, effectively describing him as “power drunk” – hugely
damaging sentiments which Nyandoro subsequently tried to mitigate by
saying these were Mawarire’s personal views and not NPP’s.
Unfortunately for Nyandoro, the attack on him also came as the respected
lawyer was making burial arrangements for his recently deceased mother.
“The challenge for opposition parties like Mujuru’s is that they are
framing themselves as different from Zanu PF where they came from, and yet
they continue to parade the same practices,” political analyst Gladys
Hlatywayo told the Daily News.
“As talk is cheap, her challenge is to put words into action and walk the
talk. Internal contradictions and conflicts are not a problem per se, as
they help refine strategies and ideas in political debate.
“However, the need for peaceful resolutions is imperative. Archaic actions
such as fist-fighting are not just deplorable, they are nowhere near the
kind of a society we envisage for our country,” she added.
Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said the ugly brawl between Mujuru’s
two aides was “the clearest sign” that the former Zanu PF number two was
“failing to have a grip” on her fledgling party.
“Her political project has no cornerstone. It’s wobbly and shaky, and she
is self-evidently struggling to hold it together . . . It’s also
reflective of the baggage she and her allies came with from Zanu PF,”
“They think that politics is synonymous with factionalism, and unless they
get new political ideas and strategies that are different from Zanu PF’s,
they will not succeed as an opposition.
“They essentially remain a Zanu PF outfit or offspring, that refuses to
grow its own political identity,” he added.
Narrating his ordeal to the Daily News in the aftermath of Thursday’s
embarrassing incident, the bashed Nyandoro said he had been ambushed by
his raving mad colleague after he made a quick “nature call” at a hotel in
the avenues area, whereupon Mawarire had suddenly emerged and confronted
him over a story which appeared in a local daily, in which he had gently
pooh-poohed Mawarire’s clanger on Tsvangirai.
Nyandoro was subsequently floored by Mawarire, who allegedly went on to
threaten to shoot him, in addition to damaging his knee.
Nyandoro was yesterday due to have an operation on his knee at a private
“My tendons were damaged and I am now supposed to go into theatre. The
president (Mujuru) visited me at home and she has conveyed her shock and
dismay,” Nyandoro, who also revealed that he had since formally filed a
complaint against Mawarire, said.
Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga urged Mujuru yesterday to take “decisive
disciplinary action” against her aides.
“Violence must never be a tool to resolve political differences or to
settle political scores. Amai Mujuru should take the necessary steps to
send a clear and unequivocal public message that political violence is
“Relevant party structures responsible for discipline should be seized
with the matter, thoroughly investigate the reported altercation and
recommend appropriate remedial action,” Mavhinga said.
Mujuru and the NPP’s problems took a turn for the worsen last weekend when
Mawarire issued a damning statement against the party’s prospective
coalition partners, after he slammed what he termed desperation,
ostensibly on Tsvangirai’s part to have him endorsed as the leader of the
planned opposition alliance.
“The desperation to have Tsvangirai as the coalition leader is manifest in
some contrived and funny endorsements by politically tainted people like
(ZPF elder Didymus) Mutasa who, only yesterday, were fighting tooth and
nail to stall any progress that we were making to ensure an MoU
(memorandum of understanding) between our parties was signed.
“It should, however, be made abundantly clear that Mujuru and NPP are
amenable to a coalition but we are against individuals who are so power
drunk to the extent of wanting to be endorsed by questionable characters
who have no political party, have a dirty and murderous past and are known
now for their desperate attempts at getting back to good terms with
Mugabe,” Mawarire said in his ill-conceived statement.
“We don’t want leaders who are so power drunk that they would turn a Nera
(The National Electoral Reform Agenda) platform into an endorsement
pedestal even from people that we know are working with the ruling party
to foil any prospects of the opposition going into the next election as a
united front,” he added, in the injudicious reaction to the ringing
endorsements that Tsvangirai had received from other opposition leaders.
It was these reckless statements which Nyandoro subsequently repudiated
and which sparked the ugly public brawl.
However, and damagingly for the NPP, Mawarire has accused Nyandoro of
being part of a broader scheme by former members of the People’s
Democratic Party (PDP) to take over the party.
“I know there is a plan from the people who came from PDP to grab the
party . . . I had a meeting with the president (Mujuru) . . . and she said
she never sanctioned Nyandoro to issue any statement,” Mawarire was quoted
saying by State media.