NATIONAL People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru yesterday claimed that she failed to attend the opposition parties’ alliance signing ceremony in Harare on Saturday because she was not invited to the event.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro said contrary to speculative reports that she had snubbed the event, the former Vice-President wanted to be among other opposition leaders that signed the coalition deal to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s hegemony.
“We could not invite ourselves to a dinner we were not invited… that seven political parties launched their coalition at Zimbabwe Grounds in our absence denotes their democratic right and that does not affect our coalition talks with the MDC-T,” he said.
The Saturday event saw MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai being endorsed as coalition leader at a ceremony attended by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti and MDC’s Welshman Ncube, among others.
But sources privy to the negotiations said Mujuru boycotted the event following her alleged fallout with Tsvangirai over terms of the pact.
“The offers in the coalition talks are hinged on facing Mugabe as the united MDC which will include Ncube, Biti and other political parties and Mujuru was supposed to be part of this alliance, but she is opposed to the name. She is also unhappy that she is being offered the position of second vice-president in the coalition and, therefore, spurned the August 5 launch,” an NPP insider said.
NPP is also growing uneasy after the PDP jumped into bed with Tsvangirai at a time they were also courting the same party.
“The fact that Biti chose Tsvangirai ahead of Mujuru weakens the NPP considerably in the coalition talks and there is now panic and discontent in the camp, I can tell you all is not well in our camp,” the source added.
PDP spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said his party will continue engaging NPP despite the weekend snub.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu declined to comment on the Mujuru’s no-show at the signing ceremony.
Meanwhile, Mujuru’s deputy Samuel Sipepa Nkomo is likely to face a stern test at the party’s inaugural convention at City Sports Stadium in Harare on Wednesday amid reports that some party members were plotting to block his confirmation.
Nkomo, a former MDC-T legislator, faces accusations of fanning divisions in the party.
“There are people who are unhappy over Nkomo taking the seat of the vice-presidency and they plan to scuttle his confirmation at the convention,” the source said.
Divisions have also rocked the NPP structures in Bulawayo and Harare amid reports that members were resisting moves to introduce membership cards to raise funds.