FORMER Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde has scoffed at reports linking him to People First, which is made up of former Zanu PF bigwigs kicked out of the ruling party at the tail end of last year.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Kaukonde, in a telephone interview with NewsDay yesterday, dismissed a human rights lobby group report that claimed he held a rally in Harare’s high-density suburb of Tafara.
“I have not responded to all these claims and I am actually suing The Herald for these malicious reports. That is madness. People should not get used to abusing my name. What People First? Have you ever heard that I am at People First? Does it exist, and it boggles the mind why anyone would want to rope me in when I have not said anything. Where are the offices of that party?” he asked.
“I think this is why this country has problems, because people want to create things out of nothing and associate people, who have nothing to do with those things.”
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru is said to be the leader of PF with the likes of former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and ex-secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa as her chief lieutenants.
The former Marondera Central MP’s comments come in the wake of a report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which claimed Zanu PF youths had reacted with their usual “thuggish” behaviour to meetings held under the PF banner.
According to a ZPP report, “State agents” violently disrupted a rally in Tafara last month.
“The coming onto the scene of the, as yet shadowy People First party — which Mujuru is speculated to be fronting though she is yet to confirm this herself — also triggered some violent reactions from State agents, particularly in Tafara,” reads the report.
“Where following a rally by ousted Zanu PF cadre, Ray Kaukonde on behalf of this party, police descended on the area later that evening and again a few days later and beat up some people randomly.”
But Kaukonde dismissed the claims.
“I have never been to Tafara and even if you ask the police they will tell you nothing of that sort ever happened. Isn’t if you want to hold a rally you need police clearance?” Kaukonde asked rhetorically.
Mujuru has not denied reports linking her to PF, but has instead released a policy document titled Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build) indicating she is preparing to challenge Mugabe in the 2018 election.
PF spokesperson Gumbo was evasive when contacted for comment.
“We have not held rallies. Not yet. When we do that we will require police clearance, but we cannot stop people from holding small meetings. That has been ongoing,” he said.