ZIMBABWE – The People First “party” is struggling to stay afloat as its leaders are already in fierce catfights over strategy and overall control, an ex-member of the cabal has revealed.
Other sources told The Sunday Mail that there also serious divisions over whether to join hands with MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai or with one of his erstwhile lieutenants, Mr Nelson Chamisa. Much of the
discord lies in the fact that while Dr Joice Mujuru is being bandied as the People First leader, sacked former Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti is calling the shots and pushing his ideas and decisions forward. Ex-Hurungwe West National Assembly representative Mr Temba Mliswa told our Harare Bureau last week that People First “does not have people” and was doomed to fail.
Mr Mliswa, a former Zanu-PF provincial chair, was booted out of the revolutionary party for colluding with members of Dr Mujuru’s cabal to unseat President Mugabe. He joined the band of sacked conspirators alongside his uncle and former Cabinet minister Mr Didymus Mutasa and ex-Zanu-PF spokesman Mr Rugare Gumbo.
However, his romance with Dr Mujuru and company petered out when the likes of Mr Gumbo questioned him for approaching very senior Government officials to help him block possible farm eviction. Mr Mliswa said Mr Bhasikiti always argued bitterly with Mr Gumbo and former war veterans leader Mr Jabulani Sibanda over strategy, with Dr Mujuru more of a reluctant follower.
Mr Bhasikiti roped in academics to craft the formation’s Build statement, which was touted as an election manifesto and signed by Dr. Mujuru.
“People First does not have people. It will suffer the same fate as Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Project. When Simba Makoni was still in Zanu-PF, he thought people would follow him once he formed his own party. But that never happened. The same thing will happen to People First. Makonileft the party and was then expelled after forming his own party.
However, these people were expelled.” He added that he decided against joining People First as its main agenda was undergirded by hatred and settling personal scores with certain Zanu-PF leaders. Mr Bhasikiti, he said, was stirring divisions
with his attempt to become the defacto second-in-command ahead of Mr Mutasa and Mr Gumbo.
“They want to use People First as a platform to settle personal differences and I told myself that I cannot be part of a platform that
wants to fight over personal differences and scores. There are divisions in People First because there are people who give information to Mujuru. They are just a group of people who decide to meet at one member’s house, then they have tea. No one is in control. Mujuru does not have full commitment to the project. It is these people who want her to be a leader and they are pushing the idea to her. She is not at the forefront and this allows it to be a free-for-all. But you also have someone like Bhasikiti who then attempts to block people from seeing Mujuru, like he is her self-appointed deputy.
Dr Mujuru, Mutasa, Gumbo, Sibanda and Bhasikiti were among the conspirators expelled from Zanu-PF for plotting against the party’s President and First Secretary.
Meanwhile, another soure in People First said there was disagreement over whether to form an alliance with Mr Tsvangirai or Mr Chamisa. Messers Tsvangirai and Chamisa, once thick as thieves, have spectacularly fallen out in recent years with the latter allegedly plotting to unseat his boss.
“Dr Mujuru is dilly-dallying on who she is inclined to. People like Bhasikiti want her to side with Nelson while others want Morgan. The problem arises from failure to determine who between the two will make a better ally and not cause problems for Joice. One camp says Nelson is better because he is young and will be prepared to allow Joice to lead the proposed alliance as he can then take over later after gaining more experience.
That camp says Morgan would want to lead any alliance with Joice as his deputy. The other camp says Morgan is better because he has a bigger public profile than Nelson. Then we have a third camp that says we should wait and see how MDC-T’s internal battles fan out and then we simply align with the winner. But that leaves too little room to strategise for the 2018 elections,” said the mole.