BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, is tomorrow expected to descend on Bulawayo — the country’s second capital — to assess party structures in preparation for 2018 elections.
The party’s provincial vice chair, Albert Mhlanga, confirmed Mujuru’s mission — which according to sources, is also expected to clarify the role of Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa — to the Daily News yesterday.
“(she)…is coming to assess the structures and our preparedness as we head towards the 2018 elections. The tour is part of her national wide tour of provincial councils,” Mhlanga said, adding that the engagements had “nothing to do with our loss in last week’s (Bikita West) by-election”.
Mujuru’s new opposition party lost its first ever election tussle against President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF, highlighting the mammoth task it faces in efforts to challenge Zanu PF.
Zanu PF managed to keep the rural Bikita West parliamentary constituency in last Saturday’s special vote after its candidate Beauty Chabaya garnered 13 156 votes against 2 453 votes for Mujuru’s ZPF candidate Kudakwashe Gopo, according to tallies by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
On Saturday, Mujuru will tour Egodini and Kotamai markets, and then proceed to watch a soccer tournament in Pelandaba.
From there, the former vice president will attend a fundraising dinner organised by the party’s youths.
According to party insiders, who attended the provincial executive committee meeting chaired by Mhlanga which was held on Tuesday at Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo’s Mukusi offices, numerous issues were reportedly tabled for discussion at the high-profile meeting slated for Sunday.
“During the Tuesday meeting, many people said they want clarification on the role of our two elders — Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa — of which we hope the president will be able to do that,” the source said.
“Also, the issue of dominance of ex-Zanu cadres in national executive council was raised,” the source said, adding that “other issues that were placed on the agenda include our recent defeat in Bikita West and how best we can deal with future elections”.
The source said other matters were “the issue of the congress that has been postponed several times, the need for resources as we go for 2018 elections and factionalism which has lately been topical in the city among a number of issues”.
Asked about the factionalism allegations in which two factions have emerged — one led by Sipepa-Nkomo and another by provincial coordinator Esnath Bulayani, both vying for the vice president post — Mhlanga said: “We have heard about those factionalism reports but they are now a thing of the past. They are only dominant on WhatsApp groups but take it from me, the issue of factionalism is one thing we have dealt with successfully.”