HARARE - A new political party founded by Joice Mujuru is rapidly gaining membership after senior party members of Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defected to her newly-formed Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party.
The move gives Mujuru, a former State and governing Zanu PF vice president, a platform for her anti-Zanu PF views ahead of elections in 2018, where she could become a queen maker in deciding the shape of a future opposition coalition.
Mujuru re-emerged on Zimbabwe’s political scene last week with a call to abandon Zanu PF’s economic policies, tapping into growing fatigue with the governing party, in power since independence in 1980
Several members of the small PDP opposition party immediately jumped ship to join Mujuru’s ZPF.
Some of the PDP members who have crossed the floor to ZPF include former Masvingo MP Jefferson Chitando; Heya Shoko; former Bikita West MP William Zivenge; Ernest Mudavanhu, a former Zaka North MP, and Severino Tall Chambati, a former Hurungwe West MP, among others.
But PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume claimed they were unfazed by the mass defections.
“What is clear is that Zimbabwean politics is a bit fluid,” Mafume said.
“What is important for all opposition parties is to concentrate on getting more people from Zanu PF.
“We are happy to note that more Zanu PF members are being expelled from the party, we are raring ourselves to get more people from Zanu PF. The opposition parties’ alliance is not an option but it’s a must.
“As PDP, we are not worried that our members are joining People First.
“Look, we have one enemy as opposition, which is Zanu PF.”
In a move to re-energise the party base, Biti held district rallies in Bulawayo over the weekend. “We held successful rallies in Bulawayo, people showed an appetite for opposition,” Mafume said.
A senior party member who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said that all was not well in Biti’s party.
“Everyone now knows that this project has failed. No one is still interested in this project,” the senior party member said.
“At first we thought that we commanded a huge following but the truth of the matter is that our party needs to have a coalition with other opposition parties for us to survive.”
There has been talk of Mujuru working to reach an electoral pact with other parties to challenge Mugabe’s 36-year grip on power.