FORMER Vice-President and Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru has reportedly shelved coalition talks with other opposition party leaders until her party has held its elective convention to choose a substantive executive.
Sources told NewsDay yesterday that the ZimPF interim leadership made the resolution soon after Mujuru returned from her United Kingdom tour, with fellow party founders, Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa threatening to dethrone her.
“It was a candid meeting in which Mujuru was told she has not done much to deserve being the party leader. There is growing discontent with her and a possible factional fight that pits Mujuru against Gumbo. But they later agreed that the leadership issue must be subjected to the people and an elective convention is the best way forward. So, the issue of coalition talks is on ice for now,” a ZimPF source, who preferred anonymity, said.
ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, however, denied reports his party had stopped coalition negotiations, but admitted that a substantive leadership elected at a congress will have the final say on the issue of a coalition.
“While it is only fair that the substantive leadership that will be elected at the convention does finalise and accents to whatever document that will consummate the coalition, the journey towards the coalition cannot be stalled because of our convention,” he said.
“The move towards a grand coalition is a process not an event, hence, our strong conviction that the process goes ahead even as we embark on other party programmes like preparations for our inaugural elective convention.”
Mujuru and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai have agreed in principle to seal a coalition deal ahead of the 2018 electtions, although there is growing unease on who between them should lead the project.
Mutasa rejected reports of a rift between him, other senior leaders and Mujuru while addressing party supporters in Mt Darwin at the weekend.
“If anybody tells you there is a rift between Mutasa and Mujuru, do not listen to them. They are thirsty and need water. I was expelled from Zanu PF because I supported Mujuru. I will continue to support her,” he said.
Gumbo was not available for comment, as his mobile phone went unanswered.
As she moves to stem growing instability, Mujuru, according to another senior official, will this week announce a steering committee to lead her party’s push towards its inaugural elective convention, whose dates are yet to be announced. newsday