CHAOS and nasty fights have rocked former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimFP) party ahead of its official launch in October amid reports that a section of the party was already demanding leadership renewal.
ZimPF youths reportedly accused the party’s old guard of “failing to appreciate the political dynamics of today”, hence Friday’s demonstration at Mujuru’s Harare home, where they demanded that she steps down as party leader.
This came as ZimPF’s Bulawayo interim provincial working committee has passed a no-confidence vote in provincial co-ordinator Esnath Bulayani, accusing her of misconduct and continued disregard of the opposition party’s draft constitution.
Although the party’s security team claimed that Friday’s demonstration was sponsored by Zanu PF and suspected State security agents, ZimPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told NewsDay yesterday that all was not well, but was quick to say “it would be sorted out soon”.
“They are mere misunderstandings that are happening, but we are not moved by that. It happens in a large organisation, but what is critical is the resolve to fight with the people through ZimPF,” he said.
“It’s not a big issue, just a mere misunderstanding among cadres, and as you know, when many people meet for a common cause, they will have different views and approaches, but we will not be moved.”
On Friday, disgruntled party members besieged Mujuru’s home where they accused top party officials ex-Zanu PF ministers Sylvester Nguni, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Gumbo and Bright Matonga of blocking them from meeting her.
Gumbo, however, declined to comment over the demonstration at Mujuru’s house, saying he did not have adequate details about the incident.
ZimPF’s security team claimed the demonstrators were hired by Zanu PF to tarnish Mujuru’s political image, but the ruling party yesterday disowned the group and distanced itself from the incident.
“Why would Zanu PF concentrate on something whose agenda and effect is in your papers?” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo queried.
“We have no time for that and I can’t comment on issues that have no effect to Zanu PF. They [ZimPF] should tell you better why they are demonstrating against each other and stop blaming others.”
The opposition party, formed early this year by fired former Zanu PF top officials, is set to hold its ward elections next month, followed by constituency and provincial polls in August and September, before its inaugural elective congress in October, where Mujuru is set to be confirmed as party leader.
However, a leaked internal memorandum purportedly written by the party’s Bulawayo provincial working committee to Bulayani, painted a gloomy picture.
Part of the letter copied to ZimPF interim national head of mobilisation Dzikamai Mavhaire, interim national women’s wing chair Margaret Dongo and Mujuru read: “Due to the continued disregard of party draft constitution, which acts as our guiding document, . . . conducts by the above-named provincial interim co-ordinator, we, as Bulawayo provincial interim co-ordinators, . . . have found it total unworkable under the direction of the above-named and for the benefit of the province and the party. We, hereby, declare that we are relieving you . . . Bulayani of your current role as provincial co-ordinator with immediate effect.”
They also accused her of dictatorship, failing to unite party members and mobilising membership in the province.
“You use members to spy on one another in return for positions, thereby creating further tension and lies which divide the party deeper. The party is being run on hearsay and rumour-mongering,” the memorandum stated.
But Bulayani yesterday said she had not yet received the alleged document.
“I have not yet received that document. I don’t know it, you may talk to information and publicity committee chairperson, Methuseli Moyo, and hear if he has seen it,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Moyo said: “I am aware of the electronic letter circulating around, about alleged problems in the province. We are attending to the issue, which clearly has been sensationalised beyond proportion. Everything is under control and we are not panicking at all.”