via No timeline for People First launch – The Zimbabwean 30 July 2015
The People First (PF) movement bringing together former and current Zanu (PF) members loyal to Joice Mujuru does not have a timeline to transform into a political party, says Rugare Gumbo.
Gumbo is the de facto spokesperson for PF who was fired from the party alongside Mujuru, Nicholas Goche, Ray Kaukonde, Didymus Mutasa and a host of other heavyweights for allegedly seeking to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
He told The Zimbabwean in a telephone interview that PF would remain a political movement until a congress was held. “We are a movement and will remain like that until we decide to become a political party. We have no time frame for that but we will definitely transform into a political party. By the time the 2018 general elections come, we will have long become a party to reckon with,” said Gumbo.
He dismissed speculation that voters and Zanu (PF) members favouring Mujuru and her formation would be disillusioned by the delay in changing into a political party. “There is nothing like that. The people are firmly with us and they know things are going to change for the better through us. When we are going to launch our party has no bearing on the faith that the people have in us.
“For your information, we have robust structures in place and we are busy mobilising the grassroots. There is a lot of enthusiasm around People First. Those that say we are all talk and no walk are people simply trying to make spins out of their own desperation,” said Gumbo.
Despite growing reports that Mujuru was not interested in leading the party, he insisted that she remained at the helm of the formation. “As far as we are concerned, Mai Mujuru is our leader and she will remain so until we hold our congress in due course. Then, the people will choose who they want to lead the party. They may choose to retain her or make Gumbo or Mutasa the new leader. It’s all up to the people,” he added.
PF insiders and independent observers have expressed disillusionment with Mujuru’s failure to clearly announce her position regarding her leadership of the formation and her political intentions.
Recently, she said people must leave her alone, even though she has indicated her support for PF. She set tongues wagging when she failed to join other political leaders at a prayer meeting for abducted journalist and activist, Itai Dzamara – despite the fact that the formation had indicated she would attend.
Gumbo said she was busy with other things, but critics said she had chickened out. There are suggestions that she still harbours plans to go back to Zanu (PF).