Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has fired seven top founders from her Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, which she formed after she was unceremoniously sacked from both government and the ruling Zanu PF three years ago.
“Having done extensive consultation with the rank and file of the party and also in my capacity as the president of the party with the executive authority to ensure its well-being, I hereby announce the expulsion of the following members from the Zimbabwe People First with immediate effect,” declared Mujuru on Wednesday.
She named the seven as founding elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, senior members Margaret Dongo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Luckson Kandemiri, Munacho Mutezo and Claudious Makova.
In a statement, Mujuru described the expelled seven as “elements determined to stall the progress that the party has been making”.
Mujuru said the expelled members had been exposed as “agents” of the regime of her former boss President Robert Mugabe, who turns 93 on 21 February.
“As anticipated, the regime is desperate because of the exponential growth of our party and the fact that the party is firmly rooted on ensuring that the ideals of the revolution return to the citizenry … as a result, we have decided to eject some of the colleagues and comrades we thought would stand with the people’s cause, but have chosen to be agents of the regime.
“All sorts of tricks, ranging from coup d’etat and sophisticated infiltration, have taken centre stage, with a view to delaying the people’s cause for unequivocal liberation.
Mujuru said “more heads are going to roll in this revolutionary exercise”.
But in a dramatic turn of events, all the expelled ZimPF members insisted they were still with the party.
“It is sad and unfortunate that Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru has decided to take the unprecedented decision of purportedly expelling founding elders … from the party we formed, Zimbabwe People First, and which we appointed her to lead,” the expelled group said.
They described Mujuru’s action as “irrational”.
“What we do not understand is that Cde Mujuru would take such a drastic measure, while we were in the process of trying to resolve challenges facing the party … Needless to say this is not in line with the draft ZimPF constitution and the values of the party.”
Mutasa and Gumbo said Mujuru had no right of expelling them, saying instead, “(she) was, in fact, appointed by the founders of the party to lead the party as an interim president”.
They said in ZimPF, they did not believe in “expelling people”, but relieving them of their duties.
“We are fully aware that the decision Mujuru made was based on advice from crooks, relatives, the Nzous and corrupt cronies, some of whom are fugitives from justice … we want to inform the people of Zimbabwe and the party membership and stakeholders that the party remains intact,” the expelled elders said.
Mujuru, along with those she fired Wednesday, were expelled from Zanu PF at the ruling party’s 2014 congress, accused of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe.
At the time they were expelled from Zanu PF, Mutasa was state security minister; Gumbo was Zanu PF national spokesperson; Mutezo was energy deputy minister, while Bhasikiti was Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister.
Dongo had already left Zanu PF, while Makova was a senior official in Masvingo province.