MUJURU HITS BACK AT BITI | The rift between leaders of the National People’s Party (NPP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has widened, highlighting the poisoned political atmosphere under which Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are trying to negotiate a grand coalition ahead of next year’s polls.
For long considered to have Joice Mujuru’s ear even when she was President Robert Mugabe’s deputy, PDP leader Tendai Biti was touted among influential figures capable of prevailing on the NPP president to join the MDC Alliance, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
But since the formation of the MDC Alliance that brought together seven parties, including Biti’s PDP, Mujuru has been drifting away from the former Finance minister.
She has previously been accused of creating confusion in PDP by clandestinely working with Biti’s secretary-general, Gorden Moyo, which Mujuru denies.
The tipping point came last week when Moyo and some PDP officials announced the sacking of Biti from the party, replacing him with Lucia Matibenga. It is being alleged that the decision was reached at a meeting held at Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s house.
Sipepa Nkomo is Mujuru’s deputy.
Since then, a bitter fallout has emerged, which has seen the two engaging in a serious war of words.
Biti was first to throw the punch, claiming at a press conference soon after a PDP national governing council meeting last Friday that Mujuru was still Zanu PF, a claim that has angered Mujuru and her camp.
“I think our colleagues in the other side (NPP) have the culture of Zanu (Zanu PF), which is the culture of scotched earth.
“I have been negotiating with the NPP for the last two years and I came to a conclusion one day that yes, they are in the opposition to the extent that they are excluded from Zanu PF but we can never take away Zanu PF in them,” Biti was quoted saying.
Mujuru, through her spokesperson, who is also the party’s secretary-general Gift Nyandoro, hit back at Biti, opening fresh fissures in the opposition which is seeking to work together ahead of the 2018 elections.
Nyandoro described claims by Biti that Mujuru has maintained Zanu PF blood as unfortunate saying such behaviour exhibits perennial student activism trapped in bodies of adults.
“How many times has such leadership visited Mujuru’s homestead begging her and her party to form an alliance for purposes of what Mujuru has clearly seen to be ego-based objectives with sole purposes of looking for donor funding instead of the real cause of liberating Zimbabweans?”
Nyandoro said NPP notes with concern a display of political kindergarten mentality by self-overrated and so-called champions of democracy in the Zimbabwean opposition trenches by individuals who exude an abominable sense of self-entitlement and monopoly as to who qualifies to stand against Zanu PF in 2018 elections.
“The deceit, ill-conceived and exaggerated political intelligence has turned desperate politicians overnight to be judges of the persona of Mujuru’s leadership and the integrity of NPP.
“Such misplaced comments and behaviour leave a sour taste in the mouth of every right-thinking Zimbabwean and democrat, more importantly when they emanate from self-super-rated politicians who are desperate to revive political careers which are without doubt facing extinction and want everyone to believe that they are ‘Mr we know it all’ of Zimbabwean politics.
“Put simply; there is naked difference between purposive and well-meaning coalition and revival of one’s political career in the face of ultimate defeat,” Nyandoro said.
The opposition is seeking to form a grand coalition that will battle it out with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party in next year’s elections.
However, this latest wrangle between the two parties is likely to stand in the way of an all-inclusive coalition.
Already, seven other parties including PDP and Tsvangirai’s MDC are part of a grouping called MDC Alliance formed in August in the spirit of working together in the 2018 elections.
Ironically, Tsvangirai wants to work with Mujuru, who is not yet part of the MDC Alliance, which might create an awkward situation should these parties decide to join forces.
On allegations that the NPP had a hand in PDP’s split, Nyandoro said his party will not be drawn into the internal affairs of the PDP.
“Instead of telling the country the truth as it is and take charge of consequences; no side show of maligning the able leadership of Mujuru and her party will ever assist such tragedy of political mal-functioning.
“NPP refuses to be a referee of other parties’ internal processes. NPP urges such distorted mentality to take charge of their own issues for such behaviour is no different from a man who blames the husband next door for his failure to impregnate his own wife,” Nyandoro said.