Blow for Biti as deputy set to defect to ZimPF

Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deputy president, is likely to lead an influential team of party supporters to the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) outfit, the government-controlled media has reported.

SIPEPA

ZimPF is led by Joice Mujuru who was early last year fired from the ruling party for allegedly leading a plot to remove President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, as leader.

Nkomo on Thursday held a secret meeting with representatives of ZimPF in Hwange where he reportedly announced his intention to crossover and possibly deputise Mujuru, who is keen to strike a regional balance in her party.

He was accompanied by his wife, Roseline, PDP deputy national organising secretary Gift Mabhena and Matabeleland North deputy organising secretary, Faza Mpunzi, and other party members, Selina Mbewe, Mehluli Sibanda and Lucky Ndlovu.

Mabhena confirmed the meeting but said Nkomo was yet to make a final decision.

In addition to making Nkomo, Mujuru’s deputy, ZimPF is said to be agreeable to gifting the former PDP members with five other senior executive positions in southern Zimbabwe.

At its launch, ZimPF was accused of drawing almost all its top leadership from the north.

Tendai Biti, the PDP president, has had a warm relationship with ZimPF and acknowledges the need for the opposition to have within its leadership people with a liberation war history like Mujuru.

Speculation has been rife that he was likely to merge his party with ZimPF, but is set to lose out if Nkomo is made the party’s deputy at its congress whose date is yet to be announced.

Biti and Mujuru have held several talks on a coalition, but are reportedly at loggerheads over who would lead it, with both wanting the pole post. Nehanda Radio

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