HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s fledgling National People’s Party (NPP) has once again cast doubt about its participation in the mooted grand opposition coalition — attacking MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as “power drunk”, while expressing reservations about him leading the alliance in next year’s watershed national elections.
The NPP, through its rash spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire, also slammed at the weekend what it said was desperation ostensibly on Tsvangirai’s part to have him endorsed as the leader of the planned coalition.
“The desperation to have Tsvangirai as the coalition leader is manifest in some contrived and funny endorsements by politically tainted people like (Zimbabwe People First elder Didymus) Mutasa who, only yesterday, were fighting tooth and nail to stall any progress that we were making to ensure an MoU (memorandum of understanding) between our parties was signed.
“It should, however, be made abundantly clear that Mujuru and NPP are amenable to a coalition but we are against individuals who are so power drunk to the extent of wanting to be endorsed by questionable characters who have no political party, have a dirty and murderous past and are known now for their desperate attempts at getting back to good terms with (President Robert) Mugabe,” Mawarire thundered in a statement.
“It is imperative that political parties form a coalition but it is politically dangerous to have characters that are so desperate to lead the coalition that they don’t want a democratic process to select the leader of the coalition.
“We don’t want leaders who are so power drunk that they would turn a Nera (The National Electoral Reform Agenda) platform into an endorsement pedestal even from people that we know are working with the ruling party to foil any prospects of the opposition going into the next election as a united front,” he added, in the injudicious reaction to the ringing endorsements that Tsvangirai has received from other opposition leaders.
This comes as Mujuru was conspicuous by her absence at the Nera rally in Harare last Wednesday, where opposition parties demonstrated against the government’s hijacking of the country’s quests to procure biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.
Because of this and other developments of the past few weeks, question marks are increasingly being raised about Mujuru’s role in the proposed opposition coalition, particularly as she has also had a nasty public fallout with Mutasa, who is playing a leading role in Nera.
Reacting to the NPP’s allegations yesterday that he had a tainted past, Mutasa told the Daily News that he was “miles better than Mawarire”.
“If you look at me and Jealousy, who has a better past? He thinks we don’t know about him, we do. However, I don’t want to talk about individuals. What I can say to him is that he should mind his own business.
“Before he starts attacking me he should also look at the person who is leading him first. We know that he was used by Zanu PF to cause the last election (in 2013). Was that a good thing to do?” Mutasa fired back.
The former State Security minister, who for long superintended over the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) also recently told the Daily News, following ZPF’s brawl with Mujuru, that the former VP was allegedly still collaborating with spooks.
He added that contrary to the belief by many members of the public, Mujuru was still being “guarded and protected” by intelligence operatives, more than two years after she was hounded out of the ruling Zanu PF and subsequently fired from the government by Mugabe.
“She is surrounded by the CIO, from her driver to her back people. The people who support her are people that I know very well. I even know them by name, so it is surprising to me that she would make such (counter) accusations.
“That accusation against Rugare Gumbo and myself (that the two men are Zanu PF plants) . . . is what she is doing, and she thinks that is what we are also doing. If I was (working with the CIO) you would be the first to know,” the miffed Mutasa said further.
Mujuru announced last month that she had expelled Mutasa, Gumbo and five other party heavyweights — on account of them being alleged Zanu PF agents, and working to topple her from her then interim ZPF position.
But no sooner had she made this surprise announcement than Mutasa and Gumbo also announced at their own press conference that they had similarly and summarily also expelled Mujuru from ZPF.
Mujuru was later dealt a further body blow when she suffered mass desertions; including receiving resignations from some of her other long-time top aides such as Sylvester Nguni, Ray Kaukonde and retired Brigadier-General Aggripa Mutambara.
Meanwhile, analysts have said the mooted grand opposition coalition could bring to an end Mugabe and Zanu PF’s long rule in the much-awaited 2018 polls.
A large cross-section of Zimbabweans — including politicians and civic society — have also been making loud calls for Tsvangirai to be the face of the proposed electoral alliance, with Mutasa among those rooting for the MDC president to lead it.
Apart from Mutasa, former Finance minister and leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Simba Makoni, has also thrown his weight behind the dogged former labour union leader.