Former vice-president, Joice Mujuru is laying the ground work to form her long-awaited political party amid indications that she is wooing politicians from Zimbabwe’s fragmented opposition into her People First outfit.
By Blessed Mhlanga
Pictures of Mujuru with a group of former Zanu PF officials that were expelled early this year for allegedly plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe started circulating last week.
The meeting held in Harare also reportedly included officials from Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who are based in Masvingo.
According to a Masvingo based newspaper, Tell Zimbabwe, the meeting attracted 300 delegates from the province.
Among those from the PDP was national executive member and former Masvingo Central legislator Jeffreyson Chitando, who confirmed his attendance.
Chitando was quoted saying it was high time parties joined hands to fight Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“I attended the meeting; in fact, I was the one who gave the vote of thanks,” he told Tell Zimbabwe.
“We are saying to Biti, look, it does not help to fight from our small corner, let’s have Mujuru as our president.”
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume told The Standard yesterday that the opposition party was aware that Chitando has always been close to the yet to be formed People First.
However, Mafume said they don’t believe that Chitando’s defection would have an impact on the fledging party.
“He has always made it clear, declaring on his Facebook page and we are aware that he could be helping the people from Mujuru camp in Masvingo in the view of forming their party,” he said.
Mafume said reports that the entire PDP Masvingo provincial leadership except the chairperson Harrison Mudzuri and his secretary had joined Mujuru were untrue.
“It’s only one or two people including another called Mudavanhu who have gone our executive is intact and as they say one swallow does not make a summer,” he said.
People First interim spokesperson Rugare Gumbo could neither deny nor confirm the meeting.
“Ask the people of Masvingo if they say they attended the meeting which we addressed then it’s true,” he said.
“Why should we tell you that we had a meeting and what the meeting was for?” he asked.
Gumbo told The Standard that their yet to be formed party had not yet reached an agreement with any political party to form a coalition.
“We are yet to form our own party and until we have done that we have not yet entered into any deal with any party including PDP or whoever. If that happens believe me you will know,” he said.
People First provincial spokesperson Kudzai Mbudzi also told the paper that the meeting had to be held in Harare for security and strategic reasons.
Mbudzi said people from Masvingo who attended the meeting unanimously called for the immediate launch of the party.
“The loud voice was that let’s launch the party now,” he said.
“Mai Mujuru accepted the call and promised that the party will be launched early next year.
“She also assured people that she (Mujuru) was not being pushed by anyone else … she had seen it fit to fight Zanu PF.”
Mbudzi claimed Masvingo province had the highest number of people who met Mujuru and the entire national leadership.
Sources said former MPs who include Rensome Makamure, Oliver Chirume, Ernest Mudavanhu, Irvine Dzingirai, and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti among others attended the meeting.
After the meeting People First members released a group photo with Mujuru picture which was also posted on Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Jonathan Moyo’s twitter account.
Moyo mocked PF saying they had become Pictures First while Zanu PF was having its conference in Victoria falls.