Mujuru's party suffers stillbirth

HARARE - Former  Vice President Joice Mujuru’s newly-launched National People’s Party (NPP) is struggling to get out of first gear — this coming hardly a month after she left the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party under a cloud, following her nasty public fallout with its founding fathers.

But just as Mujuru was beginning to think she had put her ZPF problems behind, the NPP is already starting to unravel spectacularly — with matters coming to a head on Thursday when two of her top aides engaged in a nasty public brawl.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mujuru now risked losing both her party base, as well as the support of prospective opposition coalition partners if she failed to act decisively on the problems bedevilling the NPP.

University of Zimbabwe politics expert Eldred Masunungure warned that Mujuru and the NPP also faced the risk of contesting the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections in a weakened state.

“There is a combination of several factors at play here. Of course, the question of the third force looms large in the dynamics that are at play in the party. There is clearly infiltration of the party by the forces we all know, the State security agents, to cause havoc in the party or in any other organisation that Mujuru might form.

“The other point is that Mujuru may not have the power to control the party in the way (President Robert) Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai have done, and when that happens the mice will have a field day.

“In other words, she is not in charge and her followers are not respecting her,” Masunungure added.

On Thursday, tensions within the struggling NPP boiled over when rash party spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, viciously attacked and then allegedly threatened to kill her personal spin doctor, Gift Nyandoro, in incredible scenes which shocked guests at a Harare hotel.

The two NPP comrades-turned-enemies clashed over a reckless statement which was penned by Mawarire last weekend, which stunned the country’s opposition movement — as it ran against the spirit of the planned grand coalition which is set to take on Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF in next year’s elections.

In the poorly-conceived statement, Mawarire launched an astonishing attack on Tsvangirai, effectively describing him as “power drunk” — hugely damaging sentiments which Nyandoro subsequently tried to mitigate by saying these were Mawarire’s personal views and not NPP’s.

Unfortunately for Nyandoro, the attack on him also came as the respected lawyer was making burial arrangements for his recently deceased mother.

“The challenge for opposition parties like Mujuru’s is that they are framing themselves as different from Zanu PF where they came from, and yet they continue to parade the same practices,” political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo told the Daily News.

“As talk is cheap, her challenge is to put words into action and walk the talk. Internal contradictions and conflicts are not a problem per se, as they help refine strategies and ideas in political debate.

“However, the need for peaceful resolutions is imperative. Archaic actions such as fist-fighting are not just deplorable, they are nowhere near the kind of a society we envisage for our country,” she added.

Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said the ugly brawl between Mujuru’s two aides was “the clearest sign” that the former Zanu PF number two was “failing to have a grip” on her fledgling party.

“Her political project has no cornerstone. It’s wobbly and shaky, and she is self-evidently struggling to hold it together . . . It’s also reflective of the baggage she and her allies came with from Zanu PF,” Saungweme said.

“They think that politics is synonymous with factionalism, and unless they get new political ideas and strategies that are different from Zanu PF’s, they will not succeed as an opposition.

“They essentially remain a Zanu PF outfit or offspring, that refuses to grow its own political identity,” he added.

Narrating his ordeal to the Daily News in the aftermath of Thursday’s embarrassing incident, the bashed Nyandoro said he had been ambushed by his raving mad colleague after he made a quick “nature call” at a hotel in the avenues area, whereupon Mawarire had suddenly emerged and confronted him over a story which appeared in a local daily, in which he had gently pooh-poohed Mawarire’s clanger on Tsvangirai.

Nyandoro was subsequently floored by Mawarire, who allegedly went on to threaten to shoot him, in addition to damaging his knee.

Nyandoro was yesterday due to have an operation on his knee at a private hospital.

“My tendons were damaged and I am now supposed to go into theatre. The president (Mujuru) visited me at home and she has conveyed her shock and dismay,” Nyandoro, who also revealed that he had since formally filed a complaint against Mawarire, said.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga urged Mujuru yesterday to take “decisive disciplinary action” against her aides.

“Violence must never be a tool to resolve political differences or to settle political scores. Amai Mujuru should take the necessary steps to send a clear and unequivocal public message that political violence is totally unacceptable.

“Relevant party structures responsible for discipline should be seized with the matter, thoroughly investigate the reported altercation and recommend appropriate remedial action,” Mavhinga said.

Mujuru and the NPP’s problems took a turn for the worsen last weekend when Mawarire issued a damning statement against the party’s prospective coalition partners, after he slammed what he termed desperation, ostensibly on Tsvangirai’s part to have him endorsed as the leader of the planned opposition alliance.

“The desperation to have Tsvangirai as the coalition leader is manifest in some contrived and funny endorsements by politically tainted people like (ZPF 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 Mugabe,” Mawarire said in his ill-conceived statement.

“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 had received from other opposition leaders.

It was these reckless statements which Nyandoro subsequently repudiated and which sparked the ugly public brawl.

However, and damagingly for the NPP, Mawarire has accused Nyandoro of being part of a broader scheme by former members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to take over the party.

“I know there is a plan from the people who came from PDP to grab the party . . . I had a meeting with the president (Mujuru) . . . and she said she never sanctioned Nyandoro to issue any statement,” Mawarire was quoted saying by State media.

Comments (5)

I thought ZimPF was suffering from stillbirth not NNP.

Kajawu - 1 April 2017

Zvinoda vakasimba zvehutungamiriri izvi.That's why we saying Tsvangirai is the only man who can lead,,he knows how to deal with small dogs

Matsotsi - 2 April 2017

Vanhu vakaita sana Mawarire havasi vekuchengeta,,chete kind vakamirira kuti akadzingwa zvonzi Mujuru is a dictator,vamwe vacho ndivana( Gudo)vaakungo wawata vachiti Tsvangirai is a dictator only because akamiririra part kusvika Ikozvino mushurure mekupandukirwa nana Mbiti,Ncube.Gudo if u were a leader waiita sei kana munhu achiita zvirikuitwa nana Mawarire????????.

Matsotsi - 2 April 2017

A political party is formed by all its members at the same level as individuals.Whatever structures that emerge there, for the purpose of administering the same grouping-constitutions,institutions of leadership etc, to serve the same grouping or party come at the common agreement of all & for the purpose of all.Mind you,outside supporters are a different section,a product at the invitation of the grouping & the supporters on their party looking out for leadership of the group or the party.What are most important here are the members of the group for decision purposes which move the party forward.If only one member of the group see an opportunity to exploite the set of the structures & choose to violate the original principles of the group, abusing the rest of the membership,either turning them into begging bootlickers or disgrundabled critics using the very power we all sweated for fr the beginning,then therez an anomaly.Itz the membership which sold his name to the public to obtain the same result& are the ones which must call the shots.If they decide otherwise-to retire him or appoint n other person.Tsvangirai's duty was just to b loyal step down peacefully& support the cause fr behind,not to b big headed in the presidency of our party & rushes in a corner & form a splinter group with sycophants & bootlickers in an effort to remain the boss & take all our sweat with you only thru exploiting our party's structures.Such person can not b elected to Zimbabwe HOUSE ,bec he promises to hijack the state powers & turn a dictator.Tsvangirai is dictator in the making

addmore gudo - 2 April 2017

This is on your wish list Daily News. You have been anti-Mujuru from the very beginning. If there are any steps that she is taking to deal with these teething problems, do you want her to publicize them? Why are you not talking about Mutasa and Gumbo who are still searching for a leader for "their party"?

Tongo - 3 April 2017

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