Mujuru, Dongo go toe-to-toe

HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s bid to lead the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) as it challenges President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF in the keenly-anticipated 2018 national elections could hit the skids after it emerged yesterday that she will be challenged by Margaret Dongo and others at the party’s elective convention.

At the same time, ZPF insiders also told the Daily News that Mujuru — who was hounded out of Zanu PF in the run-up to the former liberation movement’s sham December 2014 “elective” congress — is also facing growing resistance from disgruntled members who accuse her of sidelining party stalwarts Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo who have been relegated to the nondescript roles of elders.

The well-placed sources said there was a feeling within ZPF that Mujuru would — like how war veterans had recently described Mugabe — be “a difficult candidate to sell” for the 2018 polls because of her Zanu PF connections, especially if the mooted grand opposition coalition failed to materialise.

Outside such a coalition, the insiders added, Mujuru would have to fight war on two significant fronts — against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe — hence the push by some senior officials to have the former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats president, Dongo, as the party’s worthy 2018 presidential candidate.

A fierce critic of both Mugabe and Zanu PF, Dongo had not responded to the Daily News’ enquiries for a comment by the time the newspaper went to print last night.

However, ZPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire — without mentioning names — confirmed that many senior party officials were bidding to fight Mujuru for the ZPF’s top post.

“We are happy with the jostling among party officials to lead ZPF because it shows that we are growing as a party and Mai Mujuru is not unhappy with that development because it is a Zanu PF mentality to treat ambitious people who want to contest for power as enemies.

“We are happy because it shows the strength of our internal party electoral processes and we hope that the most popular and competent leader will emerge from the congress. We will not tell our members who should or should not lead them otherwise there will be no reason for holding an elective congress,” he said.

This comes as analysts have said Mujuru and Tsvangirai are the best opposition combination to bring to an end Mugabe and Zanu PF’s long rule in 2018.

Both the MDC and ZPF are among the opposition parties who have coalesced under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), which is pushing for far-reaching electoral reforms ahead of the much-anticipated next polls.

Mujuru and Tsvangirai signalled their strong intent to work together last August, in a move which analysts described at the time as “very significant”, when they took part in a massive demonstration in Gweru.

Describing the scenes then as “heart warming”, Tsvangirai showered praises on Mujuru for joining the MDC in its protest and public rally.

Another ZPF insider revealed to the Daily News that a “fervent campaign” against Mujuru’s presidency was well under way in the fledgling party, with Dongo’s backers said to be pointing to Mugabe’s former number two’s lack of bargaining power during coalition talks as her major weakness.

“The problem with Mai Mujuru being our candidate in 2018 is that she will only be acceptable to the electorate if she is not Tsvangirai’s rival.

“That is dangerous for us, not only because the envisaged coalition might fail, but also because even if it succeeds that fact alone takes away her bargaining power for the leadership of the coalition,” the senior party official said.

“Tsvangirai is aware that the electorate is suspicious of Mujuru and will only embrace her if they are together so he will use that to demand leadership of the coalition, knowing that he will have a field day if ZPF decides to go it alone by simply labelling us a Zanu PF extension and pointing to Mujuru not having left the ruling party voluntarily. He will tell Zimbabweans that had she not been fired she would still be in government and campaigning for Mugabe, hence our preference for Dongo who is known for being a long-time critic of the current status quo,” the bigwig added.

According to the ZPF’s constitution, the top five members of the executive, including the president, will be elected upon nomination by at least two provinces, with a candidate nominated by seven provinces declared the winner.

Dongo is said to have the backing of both Gumbo and Mutasa who, ironically, were sacked from Zanu PF at the same time as Mujuru for their loyalty to the former VP.

Efforts to talk to the liberation struggle stalwarts were unsuccessful — although Mutasa told thousands of ZPF supporters in Dotito at the weekend that he was solidly behind Mujuru.

Still, Gumbo and Mutasa’s sympathisers want the two ZPF founders to be accommodated in the party’s National Executive Council (Nec). Their supporters blame other ZPF bigwigs who are also eyeing top posts, such as former ministers Sylvester Nguni, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Dzikamai Mavhaire for “putting Mujuru in their pockets” as they have allegedly sought to sideline the elders.

“Mujuru is no longer as accessible as she used to be before the interim leadership took over the reins. Gumbo and Mutasa used to be respected in the party given that they worked hard to give this project the feet on which to stand on, only to throw them away like they are doing right now saying they are old.

“Yet when they were building the party’s foundations nobody said they were old,” another senior official complained.

Under ZPF’s constitution, the Nec will be the highest decision-making body of the party and will comprise the president, vice president, party chairperson, secretary-general and treasurer-general.

Commenting on suggestions that he was targeting to be elected Mujuru’s second in command in a recent interview with the Daily News, Bhasikiti said he has, for a long time now, been linked with the post.

“People might be jockeying for positions in the belief that the convention could be held in October but I am not. Yes, I have been said to be interested to be the vice president but I am more interested in building the party structures, I cannot of course rule out latent jockeying for the various posts,” he said then.

Besides former ministers, other heavyweights in the party such as businessman David Butau and former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda are also said to be eyeing top posts.

Comments (14)

Dongo and Mujuru toe to toe? What a total load of crap? Both of you are still firmly in the grips of Sir Robert. I realize that most of the population are naive, brainwashed etc., but there is one person you will never fool and that is me. Just think about it, hundreds of poor suffering Zimbabweans have been brutally beaten and imprisoned for merely carrying placards denouncing Bob yet ol Joice, bless her heart, has bee accused by the First Lady of passing State secrets to one Eric Little of the US Embassy, plotting to overthrow her husband and huge corruption, yet somehow she has not even to this very day even spent one night behind bars? So how come she escapes his form of punishment? Easy to work out Joice is still part of them?

Mbewa - 1 November 2016

That is just a carefully choreographed dance to trying and look different from the zanu they came from. The cult of leaders is heavily entrenched and hence why this country will only get a good leader by lottery luck & not through merit.

Galore - 1 November 2016

the only way is for us to have a zpf candidate to make a coalition with Tswangirai and form a coalition party viz MDCZPF to be led by two this way i think something can come out strong enough to shake Zanu pf

Patriotic Missile - 2 November 2016

If the opposition in Zimbabwe wants to produce something then they need a swot analysis of themselves.There are many in the opposition who will not change the current system or they will be an extention of it bringing nothing in terms of the change that we wnt in Zimbabwe.Both Dongo and Mujuru are people from the liberation war. Mujuru was sacked and she took a long time trying to come back but failed.This means she is Zanu PF to the core and has just changed the outside colour.More important if they have really changed they must be able to tell the nation where most of the MDC supporters killed were buried.They were part of the system and they know what happened.Mutasa was Minister in charge of the CIO and we can only trust them to have reformed if they tell us and spill the beans.Zimbabweans must not be cheated.

Zvighubhu Ngondo ngondo - 2 November 2016

The Dailynews is so obsessed with this baobab called Joice. She is a Zanu-PF snake skulking for an opportunity to save her loot. As for Maggie Dongo I am surprised to hear she is still living. I thought she has long departed. If its true she is still there I do not see anything to look forward to from her. She has long happened : the Zanu-PF woman of Sunningdale who told men in Zanu-PF that they have no balls. She told them the truth that they are all Mugabe`s wives. That was her achievement and,beyond that , comes nothing from her. These two women are bates intended to to destruct us from the drama in Zanu-PF - Lacoste versus G40. This drama is our only hope of seeing the end to decades of Zanu-PF destruction of our country. Please Dailynews leave the so-called oppostion alone. The task at hand is to dwell on Jona, Kasukukuvere, Grace and Ngwena. This way, and only this way, are likely to see change in Zimbabwe.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 2 November 2016

A SWOT analysis is very important. People are worried with positions. However, we have leaders like Tsvangirai who have been in the Opposition politics for 17 years while we would want to waste time comparing him with these new comers. We have to spend energy on further development and uplifting of democracy through already established and tested leaders. For the new comers still crawling give them more time to learn and analyse if they have really seen light.

Ngwanga - 2 November 2016

Tete Viola join your fellow zanla women and contest for the president of PPF.Abandone Lacoste

runde - 2 November 2016

Bhora pasi. ZPF is like Mavombo of Simba Makoni. You are going nowhere. Nguva ndeya Tsvangirai period.

kays 1 - 2 November 2016

Madame Joice can summon all women voters and win this election.But ofcourse women cant work together.They are always manipulated by men.Look at Khupe at MDC, she is now at par with 2 more men as deputies.Women are a disaster when it comes to ganging up against men.Look at Viola Gwena how she hates Mujuru and vauches for Mnangagwa.If Viola culd campaign for khupe or Mujuru the same way ,it wuld make a very big difference,because on this platform she has raised Mnangagwa s profile high up ,single handedly.But she wont do that for a woman .POLITRICS.

runde - 2 November 2016

Its better Mujuru,,Dongo will never be as popular as Mujuru nometter what the people say about Mujuru.If they elect Dongo,,that will be a big mistake ever for their party

matsotsi - 2 November 2016

Ooooooops ! We need to treat our media houses with a pinch of salt. They do not report news but they give their opinions ,comment and give their side of the story. That is bribery journalism. Let the readers read news and analyze for themselves and conclude own their own. You need to sell news not to the readers not to bribe individuals to make news out of them then sell news papers as well. They are even going to an extend of extorting for love of money. Shame on them. Please tell the news as it is.

Nkululeko - 2 November 2016

nonsense iwe zuze KAYS 1 hauzive here kuti tsvangirai haana dhoo nekuti simba anoriwanepi iye apedzwa nechirwere chekuBURKINA FASO......

mdczpf - 2 November 2016

Don't rate the book by its cover,or yr assumptions,opinions etc& futhermore don't stay in the past.We will first c it in 2018.With new players, conditions &prospects change with th silent majority.Thoz comenting are just nothing to the game

addmore gudo - 2 November 2016

keep us informed any time any re doing a great job in keeping us informed.

shawn samanga - 7 November 2016

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