We’re entitled to use Zanu name; we don’t recognise Mugabe’s Zanu – Gumbo

HARARE – Just as was the case when the MDC split in 2005, battle lines are drawn between President Robert Mugabe’s formation and the one fronted by disaffected party stalwarts — that include liberation struggle pioneers, war veterans and security sector bigwigs — over the Zanu PF name.

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The party faction led by Mugabe has already threatened to go to court and take whatever action it may need to retain sole use of the name, while the disgruntled party stalwarts behind Zanu PF “People First” are adamant that they are entitled to use the name.

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Speaking in a telephone interview with the Daily News yesterday, the spokesperson for the disaffected party stalwarts, Rugare Gumbo insisted that they would use “the original Zanu PF name”, using the slogan People First.

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“We are saying that we don’t recognise the Zanu PF of 2014 because they are pretenders and have no legitimacy. They do not put people first.

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“People are suffering, there is no rule of law and there is misery everywhere while they are living in their big houses,” Gumbo said.

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“We want to do away with the hate culture in Zanu PF of victimising people and purging people. We are against the amassing of wealth at the expense of the people.

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“Look at (Environment and Water Affairs minister Savior) Kasukuwere. What does he need a 50-roomed house for when people are suffering out there?

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“Why do they need luxurious cars when people are suffering? A Range Rover can easily pay 20 people.

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“What we are saying is that we are the Zanu PF of 1963. We are saying the Zanu PF of 2014 is counter-revolutionary. We are not going to be pushed to form a party.

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“Zanu PF People First is not the name of a party but it is a slogan. We are saying we are the Zanu PF which puts people first,” Gumbo said.

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Pressed to say whether former Vice President Joice Mujuru would lead Zanu PF “People First”, particularly given the view by analysts that she enjoyed a strong social base as well as regional and international appeal, Gumbo said only a legitimate congress could decide that.

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“When we say Mai Mujuru is a leader we are simply saying that until we hold another congress, she is still vice president of the party (Zanu PF),” he said.

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Asked further if their Zanu PF formation would react to their alleged sacking by the other formation by also firing the incumbent leaders in that faction, Gumbo said, “We don’t rule out anything”.

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“The Zanu PF of 2014 wants positions but they do not want to work for the people,” he said.

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Well-placed sources told the Daily News last week that Mujuru was set to lead this “original Zanu PF” which would use the slogan “People First” to “distinguish itself clearly from mafikizolos (Zanu PF Johnny-come-latelies) and weevils (supporters of Grace and VP Emmerson Mnangagwa)” as the ruling party implodes.

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Retired, but hugely respected party elder, Cephas Msipa, was among the first prominent party members to warn of an imminent split of the party, going on to criticise Mugabe openly late last year for failing to deal with Zanu PF’s deadly infighting and refusing to take advice on the party’s escalating factionalism.

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Msipa also bluntly warned Mugabe then that his failure to unmask and stop the party’s real factionalists would result in the party splitting into several opposing camps, further attacking the party faction aligned to Mnangagwa for behaving as if it “owned” the divisive Grace — a development that he said was fuelling factionalism inside the party.

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Analysts said the country’s political stage was now delicately poised between the two bitterly-opposed Zanu PF formations, as well as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, ahead of the crucial 2018 national elections.Squabble over Zanu PF name. – Daily News