via MDC-T councillors defect to People First – Newsday December 8, 2015
SEVERAL former MDC-T councillors in Harare have reportedly defected to ex-Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s yet-to-be-officially launched People First project, where they are already involved in membership recruitment programmes.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Some of the defectors include former deputy mayor, Emmanuel Chiroto, Dzivarasekwa councillor, Herman Karimakwenda and Mbare councillor, Friday Muleya among several others, who left the opposition for various reasons.
A senior official in the People First project confirmed that several MDC-T officials, who left the opposition party, were on the ground and working with the Mujuru project.
People First spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the party was working with a lot of people, some of them from the opposition MDC-T, but would not give names.
“We are working with lots of people, some of the former MDC supporters. I can’t give names, but all I can say is we are working,” he said.
A source close to Chiroto and Karimakwenda also confirmed that the pair was heavily involved in the groundwork ahead of the party’s imminent launch.
“I can confirm that we are on the ground. Here in Dzivarasekwa the project is taking shape and several people, formerly with the MDC-T, including former councillors are on the ground,” the source said.
Karimakwenda, however, declined to comment on the matter, while Chiroto was not immediately available for comment.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the party had no problems with anyone defecting to a party of their choice.
“We believe in a big tent approach, as the MDC-T. The more the merrier and our president has an open door policy. We are a democratic party. We want to reach out to our parties,” he said.
Karimakwenda is a former Dzivarasekwa councillor for MDC-T and contested in the June 10 by-elections as an independent candidate and lost to Zanu PF’s Omega Hungwe.
Chiroto served as deputy mayor during former mayor Muchadeyi Masunda’s tenure between 2008 and 2013.
His wife, Abigail, was allegedly abducted and murdered by suspected Zanu PF activists ahead of the bloody 2008 run-off presidential election.
Mujuru is said to be “quietly” holding meetings with her supporters in preparation for the official launch of her party.
She has, however, chosen to play her cards close to the chest, letting Gumbo do much of the talking.
In the few times she has spoken, Mujuru has used lengthy press statements, mostly responding to attacks by President Robert Mugabe, who has often accused her of seeking to assassinate him.