HARARE – Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, has quashed raging speculation that he, together with other leading lights of the new political kid on the block, has irredeemably crossed paths with former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Gumbo, who was among the party bigwigs who were absent from ZPF’s inaugural public rally that was held in Bulawayo at the weekend, told the Daily News yesterday that while the party “is just going through some teething problems, all is well”.
“I was not feeling well. That’s why I could not attend the Saturday rally. While some people might want to speculate this and that — that we are no longer together, if that was the case we would say it as it is and tell you,” he said.
Efforts to speak to former Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, and ex-war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda — who also gave the Bulawayo rally a miss — did not bear fruit.
But some insiders have claimed that there are spirited efforts within sections of ZPF to push out some of the party’s old guard, particularly Gumbo and Mutasa.
This is despite the fact that the two are founders of the party who set the pace of things long before even Mujuru herself had openly declared her willingness to lead the fledgling outfit.
Asked if his position had now not been usurped by his younger party colleagues who have lately been speaking on behalf of the party, Gumbo said the issue of posts within ZPF would be clarified at a later stage.
“You see, some are party spokespersons, some are presidential spokespersons and others are deputy spokespersons. All this shall be stipulated at a later stage,” he said.
However, the ructions within the party appeared to be of little concern to Mujuru herself in Bulawayo, who told thousands of her supporters that the only way to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power was through a coalition of opposition parties.
Zanu PF sources told the Daily News last week that the chaotic scenes that are presently rocking ZPF were allegedly part of “a well-calculated plan by the authorities to sow seeds of doubt and mistrust in the top hierarchy” of the Mujuru-led party.
“I can tell you with certainty that before 2018, People First will be history. Many of the people in that party have skeletons in their closets and just watch this space,” one of the sources said.
A ZPF insider also told the Daily News that an ongoing anti-graft blitz that is being spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, had left some within the party apprehensive, amid fears that the blitzkrieg might net some bigwigs.
Mujuru herself is said to have “a thick file hanging over her head”, which supposedly details her alleged transgressions, a Zanu PF insider told the Daily News.