Chaos as ZimPF elects new leader

HARARE - War veteran and former diplomat, Agrippa Mutambara, was yesterday named the new leader of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) — amid chaotic scenes which threatened to derail the meeting which had been called to announce the party’s new leadership.

At the stormy meeting held in Harare, ZPF founding fathers, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, were also relegated to peripheral roles — with Mutambara taking charge of the fledgling party in an acting capacity.

Fearless former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda, came out of his long political hibernation to be elected the party’s commissar.

But the gathering was marred by ugly scenes which rocked the troubled outfit, with angry supporters besieging its headquarters and causing the cancellation of a press conference that had been scheduled to announce the party’s new leadership.

The supporters were protesting the party’s failure to appoint a substantive president.

ZPF acting spokesperson, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, was forced to chase away the journalists who had turned up for the scheduled media briefing — although he did apologise for the chaotic scenes.

“I want to apologise to you. We are going to call you later. For now we are still having our meeting,” Bhasikiti told reporters.

But the irate supporters accused Bhasikiti of trying to mask the party’s problems and challenged him on why he was turning away journalists when he was the one who had invited them for the briefing.

“Why did he invite journalists to come here in the first place? ... We want to elect the president. Takazviramba kwaMai (former vice president Joice) Mujuru tichiti vaakuita zvechi-thug. Ndizvo zvavava kuita (They are behaving in the same thuggish and unacceptable manner which happened under Mujuru’s leadership).

“Bhasikiti is trying to impose a leader on us and we don’t want that. We need to go to a congress and elect a leader of our choice,” said one angry supporter who declined to be named.

Bhasikiti later phoned journalists to announce the party’s new interim leadership.

“We have agreed that Mutambara becomes the interim president and he will manage the affairs of the party in association with the steering committee.

“We have also resolved that Gumbo and Mutasa remain advisors, but with no dealings in the day-to-day affairs of the party, while Jabulani Sibanda will be in charge of the commissariat department. Munacho Mutezo will be secretary for finance,” he said.

Until yesterday, ZPF did not have a leader following the highly-publicised fallout between Mujuru on one hand, and Gumbo and Mutasa on the other, which led to a nasty split in February.

In that stunning development, Mujuru later announced that he had fired Gumbo, Mutasa and five other high-ranking officials over a slew of allegations which included claims that the stalwarts were Zanu PF spies.

“Having done extensive consultation within the rank and file of the party and also in my capacity as the president with the executive authority to ensure its wellbeing, I hereby announce the expulsion of the following members from Zimbabwe People First with immediate effect: Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, Margaret Dongo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Luckson Kandemiri, Munacho Mutezo and Claudious Makova.

“We assure Zimbabweans that more heads are going to roll in this revolutionary exercise. We remain committed to the democratisation of Zimbabwe. We remain committed to a coalition of progressive forces to fight and remove Zanu PF from office,” she said.

But before the dust had settled down on the staggering development, Gumbo and Mutasa held their own press conference later in the day where they also announced Mujuru’s summary expulsion from the party.

Mujuru eventually left the party to launch her own outfit, the National People’s Party (NPP), which last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the make-or-break 2018 elections.

Comments (2)

Only democracy in the party is needed;open platform congresses whenever the time comes to change leadership of your party;advertise democracy not autocracy like in the case of the various outfits of the MDCs which hav never bn able to change leadership since -Tsvangirai remained since 1999, has never bn changed,the Ncube faction is better,has once bn with Mutambara.There is no way the enlightened,progressive& zimbabwean electorate can elect Tsvangirai to Zimbabwe House when by his actions he is saying I am dictator hence the autocracy which is observed in his party.Is the only leader his party has ever known since formation in 1999-just like Mugabe at both STATE & his PARTY zanu pf

addmore gudo - 24 April 2017

Practising democracy at party is a pre-requisite to prove that the same party & leadership will practise democracy at state,& not likely the ones to manipulate the constitution in order to remain

addmore gudo - 24 April 2017

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