By Mugove Tafirenyika
Former vice president Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP) has all but collapsed after almost all its senior members deserted the party before it has even celebrated its third birthday.
Analysts told the Daily News yesterday that what has happened to NPP demonstrates the future political limitations for anyone who was once a central figure in the ruling Zanu PF party and decides to strike out alone.
Respected political analyst Piers Pigou said without a party infrastructure enmeshed into the states’ resources, and without capacity to mobilise at the grassroots — a mobilisation that can translate into votes — Mujuru and other pretenders to the presidency stood no chance.
“As (former president Robert) Mugabe must now realise, a national profile alone has limited political purchase without the backing of credible and competent party machinery. These defections after the recent polls were inevitable,” he said.
Amongst those who have ditched Mujuru, are NPP vice president Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, national chairperson Dzikamai Mavhaire and party spokesperson Jeffreyson Chitando.
The trio are among hundreds of former NPP members who have since joined Nelson Chamisa’s MDC party.
To rub salt into Mujuru’s wounds, her provincial chairpersons for Matabeleland North, Bulawayo, Midlands, Matabeleland South and Masvingo have also resigned from her party.
Former NPP secretary-general Gift Nyandoro, who doubled up as Mujuru’s spokesperson, also told the Daily News yesterday that he quit the party for personal reasons.
“I think it’s now about a month after I left the party only that unlike my colleagues who include Mavhaire and Chitando who have chosen to go public about it, I just went quietly to allow myself to reflect on the journey we travelled and what lessons we have learnt,” Nyandoro said.
Since her ouster from Zanu PF in 2014 and her subsequent decision to join opposition politics, Mujuru’s journey has been a whole chapter of miscalculations and fatal political errors that started with her decision to part ways with Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, her refusal to join hands with the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to the creation of the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC).
Mavhaire was among dozens of former Zanu PF bigwigs who were purged from the ruling party in 2014 after being associated with Mujuru’s alleged attempts to snatch power from Mugabe as well as plotting to assassinate the then 91-year-old former guerrilla leader.
Mujuru’s former allies blame her for allegedly blocking calls among some of her allies to join forces with the MDC ahead of elections, insisting the main opposition should first allow the coalition to adopt a more neutral name as opposed to MDC Alliance.
She went on to form her own coalition, PRC, with some fringe opposition outfits.
While Mnangagwa won 2,460,463 votes representing 50, 6 percent of the total, Chamisa followed closely with 2,147,436 (44, 3 percent), Thokozani Khupe came a distant third with 45,573(0,9) percent but enough to eclipse Mujuru who only managed a paltry 12,878 (0,3) percent
In the end, Mujuru and her party failed to win a single seat in the country’s 350-member bicameral combined Parliament.
A South Africa-based political analyst Ricky Mukonza said the developments in Mujuru‘s party were a result of her ineffectual leadership.
“Her failure to keep Zimbabwe People First intact was her first major downfall, that alone gave an image of a person who failed to win the confidence of her inner circle,” Mukonza said.
Mukonza added that sentiments expressed by Mujuru’s former allies Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa with whom she left Zanu PF and formed the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party that she was incompetent as a leader did not help matters.
“She carried this chequered brand in to the NPP. Although initially it appeared as if she was doing well, the results of the elections proved that the electorate did not have much faith in her.
“The departure of many around her, including the leadership of the NPF further demonstrates her inability to inspire those around her. I am sure there are many things observed behind the scenes that these leaders may have seen that convinced them that the NPF project was going nowhere”.
Mukonza also opined that part of the reasons why Mujuru has failed to make it has to do with the fact that since the formation of the MDC in 1999 the country’s politics “has been largely binary in nature”.
“It is either Zanu PF or MDC led by Chamisa. This has left little room for other political outfits, and the NPF may just have been a victim of this state of affairs.
This is why leaders of NPF are either re-joining Zanu PF or joining MDC (Chamisa)”. DailyNews