HARARE – Opposition leader and former vice president, Joice Mujuru, has waded into the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) infighting, arguing there is nothing untoward about the latter’s secretary-general Gorden Moyo announcing their alliance.
Last week, PDP was plunged into chaos after Moyo announced that the party was not part to the MDC Alliance.
He said instead, they were “working together” with Mujuru.
Addressing a press conference in Bulawayo alongside Zapu president Dabengwa and officials from Mujuru’s National People’s Party after they had registered as voters, Moyo said their meeting was a culmination of “protracted” negotiations.
However, Biti insists that PDP is a bona fide member of the MDC Alliance, which has since endorsed Tsvangirai as its candidate for the 2018 elections.
But in a development that will, in all likelihood, strain relations between the MDC Alliance and Mujuru, who is expected to join others in a grand coalition, she backs Moyo, arguing he was right in making the announcement.
Through her spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, who also doubles as the NPP secretary-general, Mujuru sought to exonerate Moyo saying he had made “a reasonable statement of intent based on our on-going deliberations with PDP”.
“As NPP, we understand that their secretary-general is our contact person in our deliberations, unless there are insinuations that PDP is not aware of ever having discussions with us on coalitions, then NPP will be persuaded otherwise,” Nyandoro told the Daily News yesterday.
In dismissing Moyo’s coalition announcement, Biti said the former State Enterprises minister had no authority to enter into coalition agreements on PDP’s behalf.
“I am the president of the party and no one except me has the authority to do that and if there are any rogue officials doing that, we will deal with them accordingly,” Biti said referring further questions to Jacob Mafume, the PDP spokesperson.
On his part, Mafume slammed Moyo, describing him as “a poster child of disunity and tribalism”.
“That (PDP is not part to the MDC Alliance) is a piece of fiction,” Mafume said adding “we have fully committed to the MDC alliance”.
“The move (to join Mujuru alliance) was announced by the secretary-general who for some reason has chosen to become the poster child and face of disunity.
“We are fully behind the alliance and candidature of …Tsvangirai for the upcoming election. The alliance issues are done”.
Moyo’s mobile number was not reachable throughout yesterday.
However, announcing the Mujuru coalition, Moyo said “we are working together. We are finalising our terms of working together”.
“So whether we are going to have a broader coalition at some point, it does not depend on us alone. It depends on everybody else as we are engaging everyone, social movements, women and churches, he said.
Notwithstanding Biti’s concerns, Nyandoro reiterated that the NPP and PDP were continuing with negotiations regardless.
“We are not aware of having received communications from PDP that the engagement has been undone and that their secretary general is no longer the contact person between our two progressive parties,” he said.
This comes as Tsvangirai, currently on sick leave after he fell ill last week and was flown to South Africa for treatment, is grappling with how to placate one of his deputies, Thokozani Khupe, who is fiercely opposed to the MDC Alliance.
While a meeting between Tsvangirai and his second-in command to try and heal the rift to avoid another split has been scheduled, Khupe has been digging in demanding that they meet at a neutral venue outside Harare.
Khupe, along with MDC national chairperson, Lovemore Moyo and party organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, are against Tsvangirai’s move to forge an alliance with Ncube’s MDC and PDP. – Daily News