Shumba dissolves UPP and rejoined Zanu PF

HARARE – United People's Party (UPP) president Daniel Shumba has dissolved his fringe opposition party and returned to President Mugabe's Zanu (PF).

The former provincial chairman of Masvingo and Central Committee member is expected to announce the decision at a press briefing "soon". It marks the end of UPP, formed in 2006.

Despite being a fringe opposition party, the ambitious UPP first fielded candidates for the first time in the by-elections of Chiredzi South and Zaka East in February and March of 2007, respectively. It lost those elections but polled higher votes than Arthur Mutambara’s MDC.

In the 2008 parliamentary election, the party put forward 79 candidates for the House of Assembly and 27 for the Senate in eight of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces, but failed to pick up a single constituency.

Shumba, a Retired Zimbabwe National Army Colonel who self funded UPP, was denied a chance to run in the 2008 Zimbabwean presidential election after allegedly arriving late to the nomination court. He later won a court application, but the judgement was issued well after the rerun election.

Shumba said this week he resigned from politics in October 2009, to continue his role as a business leader in Zimbabwe. He said he did not consider joining the MDC because of "poor judgement and leadership".

He denied he was doing it purely for economic reasons. Shumba’s properties were supposed to go under the hammer at Ruby Auctions last Friday, but Zanu (PF) is said to have intervened, waving indigenisation mantras and saving the properties from auction. It is not clear if his planned return to Zanu (PF) was because he was paying a debt of gratitude to his former party for throwing him a lifeline.

Shumba was one of six Zanu (PF) provincial chairmen suspended in the Tsholotsho debacle that sought to block the elevation of Joice Mujuru to the vice presidency.

After his suspension, a livid Shumba formed UPP, and in retaliation, the Zanu (PF) government suspended the licence for his TeleAccess, which was poised to be the second fixed line company in Zimbabwe after TelOne. Currently, there are vast business opportunities in the telecommunications sector, but it seems the opportunities are only available to those under the safe armpit of Zanu (PF). 

The former Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman, said he was suspended from the ruling party in December 2004 after allegations of taking part in an illegal meeting held in Tsholotsho.

In a letter to Masvingo Province chairman Lovemore Matuke dated November 24, 2010 Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said Shumba had been accepted back into the party as an ordinary member.

"Thank you for your letter dated 15 September 2010. The recommendation was considered in terms of Article 3, Section 14, sub-section 2 of the Party Constitution and has been accepted. The registration of his membership should be done through the provincial administration," the letter read.

In a statement yesterday Shumba, said he had been admitted back into the party after being absolved from any wrongdoing by authorities.

"In December 2004, I was suspended from my elected position as Zanu-PF chairman of Masvingo Province, together with others for having taken part in an illegal meeting in Tsholotsho.

"It has since been ascertained by the authorities and proved to be otherwise. All those involved including myself have since been cleared of any wrongdoing," Shumba said.

He said since his suspension he had remained an ordinary member and in November 2005 he was subjected to a number of unfortunate economic and other attacks owing to the political climate at that time resulting in him joining the UPP.

"I thus regret my over reaction, which in hindsight I should have handled differently," he said.

Shumba said despite helping to form UPP the party has never had any form of foreign ideologies or sponsorship.

In 2008, he said the UPP took part in the general elections and he as interim president did not contest the elections because he was never a presidential candidate. Shumba said he was born and bred in Zanu-PF and has always served and still shares the ideals of the party to this day.

"I was particularly hurt by what happened to me, however, in retrospect I regret not having sought alternative internal remedies to the challenges," he said in the statement.

He vowed he has never and would never be associated with anti-revolutionary forces.

"I will thus accordingly continue to ensure maximum value for all Zanu-PF programmes and agendas and my true identity and values did not change even if I felt very aggrieved or as a result of my over reaction," Shumba said.

He said he had come back home and restored his standing relationship and commitment to Zanu-PF.

"The indisputable truth and fact is I am a child of the revolution and that cannot be changed nor taken away. It is earned.

"I can now proudly confirm that I am a full and active member of Zanu-PF from November 24, 2010 when my application was accepted and granted unconditionally," he said.

He called on UPP members and others not to be misled and join Zanu-PF and defend the country.

"I have already directed many to rejoin Zanu-PF and many have already done so. It is the most progressive thing to do. I expect that this trend will continue, as I play my part in strengthening our party," he said.

Shumba added that Zimbabwe has managed to withstand all form of aggression and all obstacles that enemies have thrown at it.

He said Zimbabwe should be grateful and rally behind President Mugabe.

"I ask that we all must pray for him to continue to give to Zimbabwe what has been a life time of selfless leadership," he said.