Internal disagreements within ZPF led Mujuru to dismiss seven senior members of the party whom she accused of having links with the ruling Zanu PF party. Top on the list of those that Mujuru gave the marching orders were the Elders’ Advisory Council duo of Mutasa and Gumbo.
The other five senior members that were shown the exit are former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats leader, Margaret Dongo; former Zanu PF politburo member Kudakwashe Bhasikiti; former Cabinet member Munacho Mutezo; former Zanu PF Bikita West legislator Claudius Makova and former Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial youth chairperson Luckson Kandemiri.
However, the group of seven responded to Mujuru’s move by calling a press conference where they rejected their purported dismissal, claiming that if anything, they were fed-up with Mujuru’s “inept leadership and dictatorial tendencies” such that their dismissal came at a time they were finalising moves to recall her from her position as the interim leader of the party.
Mujuru went on to rebrand her outfit the National People’s Party (NPP) while Mutasa, Gumbo and others remained with ZPF. Gumbo and Mutasa split again just last month this time with Bhasikiti and former army general Agrippa Mutambara emerging as faction leaders.
Zimbabwe People First has split for the second time in two months after a faction in the party today officially appointed former Ambassador and Retired Brigadier-General Agrippa Mutambara as the interim leader.
The development did not go down well with another faction led by the party’s elders Messrs Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa. The faction led by the two elders said by so doing, Rtd Brig-Gen Mutambara and his group had expelled themselves from the party.
They accused Rtd Brig-Gen Mutambara of using money to land the post. ZimPF first imploded in February when then interim leader Dr Joice Mujuru parted ways with the council of elders led by Messrs Gumbo and Mutasa.
Dr Mujuru later formed National People’s Party (NPP) while the elders remained in ZimPF. Mr Mutambara today convened a press conference together with Messrs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Munacho Mutezo, Claudious Makova and other officials whom they claimed were members of the steering committee running the party.
ZIMPF founding elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa and part of their supporters reportedly walked out of a meeting on Monday that sought to endorse Agrippa Mutambara as the interim leader, NewsDay heard.
Gumbo and Mutasa have been the caretaker leaders since the acrimonious split with a group led by the now NPP leader Joice Mujuru.
The two were appointed caretaker leaders to allow the party to re-strategise and find another leader.
Sources who attended the Monday meeting held at the party office told NewsDay that after disagreeing on Mutambara taking over, the founding elders and their supporters walked out.
“They walked out in protest. They are saying it is not possible to have Mutambara as leader. They are saying he is not suitable for that position. However, the challenge is that Mutambara has a lot of supporters and he is loved by the structures as opposed to the elders. After failing to convince others, the elders left,” said a close source who attended the meeting.
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