Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru has provisionally set an October date for the party to hold its inaugural congress, NewsDay has learnt.
Impeccable sources told NewsDay that Mujuru and her close aides, the majority of whom were fired from Zanu PF in the run-up to and after the emotive December 2014 congress, would also in the intervening period be working to officially launch the party.
“Congress has tentatively been set for October, with not specific date yet. As long as there are no major changes to our programme, that is what we are working with. We have also agreed that there should be a public launch of the party before congress,” a senior party source said on condition of anonymity.
ZimPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was coy when reached for comment.
“We have not set dates yet and I am not in a position to give you the targets we have set for ourselves either, but we will make an announcement soon. At the moment, we are working on a membership drive and distribution of party cards.
“From the membership register, we will then be able to call for a congress for bona fide members. But it should be this year because we have set 2017 for campaigning for the general election set for 2018.”
Reports have indicated that already, there are bitter internal fights for positions within Mujuru’s new party, but the former VP is guaranteed her position as leader.
Asked if his party would participate in by-elections or an electoral process that maybe proclaimed before 2018, Gumbo said they would consider the possibility, but was quick to rule out a boycott.
“We would need to be ready for such things, but it (participation) is something we may want to put our minds to and consider,” he said.
“But, I must say, we do not believe in boycotting elections. It does not help the development of democracy, but only helps to entrench kleptocracy.”
The country’s main opposition party, MDC-T, has boycotted elections since its disputed loss to Zanu PF in 2013, citing “a skewed playfield”.
Led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC-T has since then consistently called for reforms, but was criticised for “donating safe seats” to Zanu PF following the recall of “rebel” MPs who broke off to form another opposition party in 2014 under the leadership of former secretary-general Tendai Biti and treasurer-general Elton Mangoma.
With Zanu PF virtually at war with itself, given bitter internal wrangles over succession, calls for a grand coalition bringing together the country’s splintered opposition parties have grown and Mujuru has indicated she is willing to work with “like-minded parties” to achieve change in Zimbabwe. newsday