Blessings Mashaya 11 March 2017
HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the public spats between
former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her erstwhile Zimbabwe People First
(ZPF) colleagues, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, will not scuttle the
country’s mooted grand coalition.
Addressing the media on Thursday after the MDC national executive met in
Harare, Tsvangirai also asserted that it was his prerogative to choose the
alliance partners he would work with in next year’s eagerly-anticipated
The remarks by the former prime minister in the stability-inducing unity
government came after calls by Mujuru, who renewed her bickering with
Mutasa and Gumbo this week, that the two liberation stalwarts be expelled
from the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) – a lobby grouping of
opposition parties pushing for electoral reforms ahead of 2018.
“The question of their infighting will not in any way affect coalition
talks because it is the MDC which will choose who to work with or not. We
will not ignore the national sentiment for a coalition.
“I listened to the people on the issue of political alliances and that as
a party we must exercise due diligence on who we work with, as some of
these political parties do not have proper structures and membership,
while others are surrogates of Zanu PF.
“I am confident that collectively we will not fail the nation and future
generations to whom we must bequeath a stable, prosperous and democratic
country underpinned by growth and opportunities for all,” Tsvangirai said.
“We must leave our footprints on the sands of history so that in future we
will be able to boldly stare history in the face and say in 2018 we
charted a new direction for our country. Together, we can do it,” the
former labour union leader added.
Mujuru, who now leads the newly-formed National People’s Party (NPP),
after she “sacked” Mutasa and Gumbo from ZPF, before the two elders turned
the tables on her, said earlier this week that her former aides should not
be part of Nera.
“The reasons that we expelled the group of elders are still there and it
will be difficult to continue working with them.
“As a party, we are still deciding on the best way forward. We cannot work
with the same people whom we expelled,” Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift
Nyandoro told the Daily News.
But Nera legal advisor, Douglas Mwonzora – who is also the
secretary-general of the MDC – said emphatically that ZPF would remain
part of the group.
“ZPF remains a member of Nera and, unfortunately, . . . Mujuru did not
give any official confirmation about the expulsions of the Mutasa group.
We only read about that in the newspapers.
“To complicate matters, there was a hint by people in ZPF that they did
not want to remove the other group from Nera.
“What has complicated matters is that a new party called NPP has been
announced. So, we are awaiting advice from both NPP and ZPF regarding
their representation in Nera,” Mwonzora said.
Mujuru announced last month that she had expelled Mutasa, Gumbo and five
other party heavyweights – on account of them being alleged Zanu PF
agents, and working to topple her from her then interim ZPF position.
But no sooner had she made this surprise announcement than the situation
turned into a complete farce, when Mutasa and Gumbo announced at their own
press conference that they had also similarly and summarily expelled
Mujuru from ZPF.
Mujuru was later dealt a further body blow when she suffered mass
desertions, including receiving resignations from some of her other
longtime top aides such as Sylvester Nguni, Ray Kaukonde and retired
brigadier-general Aggripa Mutambara.
Last week, Mujuru moved to formally cut her ties with ZPF when she formed
the NPP, ending her relationship with her erstwhile colleagues which dated
to their time in Zanu PF.
Before problems rocked ZPF, Mujuru had been working behind the scenes with
Tsvangirai and other smaller parties towards the formation of the planned
grand opposition coalition.