Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP) members have claimed they have busted a plot by some officials from Tendai Biti’s People Democratic Party (PDP) to infiltrate and cause another split of the former Vice-President’s party in order weaken her on the coalition negotiating table.
By Staff Reporter
They alleged the plot includes assuming provincial and national positions at the NPP’s elections to establish a substantive national leadership slated for today, and then months later defect en masse to the PDP. The alleged defections would make Mujuru to be viewed as weak and, therefore, unsuitable for very senior positions on the opposition coalition.
NPP members from Masvingo said the plot was being implemented by officials who have joined the party from the PDP.
They claim the former PDP members jostling for positions in the NPP were still working with their former party and had two meetings this year to strategise the infiltration and cause a split.
The plot has come to be dubbed as the Third Force and was aimed at discrediting Mujuru, while at the same time propelling Biti so that his stakes at the coalition negotiating table would rise.
Although most opposition leaders have endorsed MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the best candidate to lead the mooted coalition against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the forthcoming 2018 general elections, the PDP outfit allegedly wanted to torpedo the former labour unionist.
“The PDP members still believed Biti is the best candidate to lead the coalition on account of Tsvangirai’s ill-health, but without numbers, they still face a mountain task against Mujuru.
“The plot is thus to have mass defections from Mujuru’s camp to prop up Biti’s profile and take over leadership of the coalition ahead of the Mujuru,” one member told NewsDay Weekender on condition of anonymity.”
The official added: “When we started the NPP as Zimbabwe People First, we agreed to accept anyone from anywhere and treat each other as equal partners. We had people from PDP. They joined the party and after a meeting with Biti on January 13 in Masvingo, they reinforced the recruitment drive in other provinces.
“Now they are a structure within a structure. They now want to dominate the provincial and national leadership positions and resign en mass after six weeks to dent president Mujuru’s image. The problem is more pronounced in Masvingo where they are working with a senior NPP official who is the both in the provincial and interim structures,” he said.
“The official (name withheld) thinks he is building his own team that will help him take over from Mujuru in two years, but he doesn’t know that the guys have an immediate plan to collapse the NPP within six months. In Masvingo, there is already a structure before the convention.”
NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said: “Normally, when you get allegations of such gravity, it is prudent to study them first and comment later.”
But PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed this as machinations of Mugabe’s spy agency to collapse the coalition talks before the polls. He said his party has no intention to undermine Mujuru or any other opposition party.
“This is complete fabrication. We do not have the time to plot against Mujuru or any opposition. We are focusing on a coalition to remove Mugabe,” Mafume said.
“These are CIO machinations to destabilise the congress of a sister organisation. We wish Mujuru well. She must ignore this smokescreen that has become a trademark of Zanu PF.”
Mavhaire was not reachable yesterday.