True to the prophetic predictions of President Robert Mugabe that very soon there will be Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) one, two, three and so on, ZimPF one is already in the offing following the sacking of all the key names that were synonymous with that party.
The interim president of ZimPF, Dr Joice Mujuru booted seven big wigs and assured that more heads were going to roll. The dismissed are Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, Margret Dongo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Munacho Mutezo, Cloudious Makova and Luckson Kandemiri. Like the MDC-T which always sees the hand of Zanu PF whenever a mishap falls on it, Mujuru is accusing these gentlemen of being agents of Zanu PF which wants "to ensure that Zimbabwe People First fails on its mandate to be the next Government." Forming the next government is a dream that even Egypt Dzinemunhenzva holds so dearly. It's not a crime to dream, so Mujuru is encouraged to dream on. However, it becomes a problem when you start accusing everyone for a botched dream. When will our opposition parties become serious and stop the blame game?
The heads that have rolled so far are all key members of ZimPF. It seems Mujuru has emptied the entire ZimPF and everyone is wondering if she has remained with anyone or she is now a one man-band operator. With the new developments in ZimPF, it is now apparent that there will be no more coalition talks but assimilation of Mujuru into MDC-T's big tent. The recent developments in the ZimPF must have surely come as a sweet song in the ears of Morgan Tsvangirai, for it naturally solve the coalition matrix, especially on who will lead it. Mujuru will bring no one of substance onto the negotiation table, so she has no bargain leverage. She might not even get the vice presidency position.
Some of the dismissed members have vast experiences of being expelled, having been shown the exit several times before. Gumbo and Dongo lead the pack. The best thing for these people is to seek someone who can cast out their spells and go on bended knees to Zanu PF to seek re-admission if they still need to continue with a career in politics.
The seven were fired for causing factionalism in ZimPF, which is exactly the same reason they were fired from Zanu PF. Shiri inemuririre wayo haiuregi (Old habits die hard). Those expulsions have vindicated Zanu PF which has been accused of unfairly sacking the lot. Instead of seeing the shadow of Zanu PF in the explosion, Mujuru must now realise that Zanu was right for firing these people. On the other hand, Mutasa and allies are also accusing Mujuru of the same charge that caused her dismissal from Zanu PF.
Just like what have been happening in the MDC, the fired gentlemen are likely to form their own party. In fact, there will be a battle for the name ZimPF since Gumbo and Mutasa claim to have fired Mujuru for "failing to lead the party" and they see themselves as founders of the party who incorporated Mujuru at a at a later stage. The Tsvangirai-Welshman Ncube wrangle over party name is going to be replayed in ZimPF. It's a fiasco in ZimPF as nobody knows for certain as to who fired who. Gumbo and Mutasa also held a press conference to announce the dismissal of Mujuru, a conference which the later viewed as a coup d'état. Her faction's spokesperson Jealous Mawarire said they called for a press conference as an attempt to counter Mujuru's after they had got wind that they were going to be fired.
Mawarire said the dismissed gentlemen were accused of stalling and sabotaging party programmes that include preparations for the party's convention and dialogue on coalition with other opposition parties. Mutasa and Gumbo allegedly didn't want the party to hold a convention to ensure that the party does not have an elected leadership. The two gentlemen were just appointed office holders and it is said that they were cocksure that they were not electable. Thus, they wanted the status quo to remain in operation.
The two were reportedly against the coalition proposal for fear of being relegated to the periphery in the merger. There are also members of the MDC-T who are opposed to the coalition. It is said that Tsvangirai is plotting to take a similar action on such members. His deputy, Thokozani Khupe who is vehemently opposed to the coalition, is likely to be the first casualty in the MDC-T. Sources within both the MDC-T and ZimPF said that the decision to fire those who are blocking the coalition initiative was hatched by both Tsvangirai and Mujuru with the later having led the way. Both leaders have been touring provinces on a consultation mission regarding coalition. The coalition idea reportedly got traction from grassroots of all parties. According to Mawarire, Mujuru did not unilaterally fire the seven but did that at the behest of the provincial structures.
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe seem to be cut from the same cloth. History is repeating itself. Readers might remember very well how Tsvangirai and Biti parted ways. Biti and his allies had a convention and subsequently called for a presser to expel Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai later on called his presser to expel Biti and allies. This drama has repeated itself in ZimPF today, leaving people wondering if people's interests are indeed at the nucleus of their formations or it is just a struggle for power.
- Rufaro Mufundirwa