Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, has turned down a proposed meeting between herself and the top leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), saying she had no business dealing with ex-combatants aligned to her rival, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mujuru made the remarks in Gwanda on Saturday while addressing her party’s newly-elected Matabeleland South provincial executive.
This follows recent overtures by ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda and spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, to organise a separate meeting with Mujuru following her nasty fallout with fellow ZimPF founders, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.
Last week, Matemadanda and Mahiya, met Gumbo and Mutasa in a gesture of solidarity widely believed to be an endorsement of the two politicians, as the legitimate ZimPF leaders.
But, Mujuru said she would not agree to such a meeting.
“You want to see me in your capacity as who? Not me. I have no business meeting with Lacoste,” she said in apparent reference to Mnangagwa’s faction.
“Exactly seven days after we expelled them (Rugare and Mutasa) from People First, they were in a meeting with war veterans aligned to the Zanu PF group supporting Mnangagwa.
“We had been infiltrated by Zanu PF in our leadership through those people who kept calling themselves founding elders. That is why we fired them.”
There is no love lost between Mujuru and Mnangagwa, as they were both said to be leading rival factions of Zanu PF during the former’s time in the ruling party.
Mujuru accused the expelled group of frustrating coalition talks with other opposition parties.
“My co-pilots were interfering too much and the plane could not fly properly. They did not understand the concept of co-piloting,” she said.
“They were dangerous. They wanted to control me as if I was their domestic worker.
“I refused that. For a long time, we thought they were genuine and gave them the benefit of the doubt, but it became clear they did not want anything to move.”
Mutasa and Gumbo have, however, hit back, accusing Mujuru of exhibiting dictatorial tendencies and of being daft.
Turning to the envisaged coalition with MDC-T and other political parties, Mujuru declared that there was no going back, saying the opposition leaders had unanimously agreed to fielding one presidential candidate to challenge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s general elections.
Meanwhile, Matabeleland South became the first ZimPF province to elect a substantive executive, with Bekezela Maduma as chairperson of the main wing, Engel Masiye leading the women, Khulani Ndlovu will lead the youth and Themba Ndlovu will lead the freedom fighters’ wing.