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2018 Harmonised Elections: 'MDC-T, ZimPF Strive for Masiyiwa'

MDC-T and a faction of Zimbabwe People First are reportedly fighting over co-option of business magnate Mr Strive Masiyiwa into their ra...

MDC-T and a faction of Zimbabwe People First are reportedly fighting over co-option of business magnate Mr Strive Masiyiwa into their ranks ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections. 

The Sunday Mail gathered last week that several ZimPF members purportedly expelled from the party by Dr Joice Mujuru are rooting for Mr Masiyiwa to lead their cause, while a clique in the MDC-T also wants him to take up “a senior position” in their party.

Though Mr Masiyiwa could not be reached for comment, he has previously denied having links with MDC-T and opposition politics in general.

ZimPF insiders disclosed that Mr Masiyiwa was their preferred leader, with former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Mr Jabulani Sibanda being roped in as his deputy.
Strive Masiyiwa

The insiders said ZimPF would “act rapidly” to land the businessman’s services following strong indications that influential MDC-T figures were also after him. It is believed an East African Head of State is backing Mr Masiyiwa’s candidature for the top ZimPF post.

It is also suspected that Mr Masiyiwa hiked tariffs on his mobile phone service platforms in order to allegedly fund his liaisons with ZimPF. However, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira could have inadvertently impeded the plan when he reversed the hike.

ZimPF faction spokesperson Mr Rugare Gumbo would not be drawn into revealing details regarding the group’s proposed co-option of Mr Masiyiwa. “Why don’t you wait until we finish our consultations,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu responded: “We don’t have a monopoly over democracy. So, be it Masiyiwa or you, we want you to work with us. If he wants to play an active role in our democracy, he is welcome.”

But a ZimPF source said, “The steering committee met in Harare (last week) and what it has done is to look for a candidate who can be accepted by the majority of our members and that candidate is Strive.

“Of course, the steering committee came up with different names, which also included (former Industry Minister) Nkosana Moyo. We are still deliberating on the matter, and could discuss it with Mr Masiyiwa soon.

“On Jabulani Sibanda, the committee was clear that he would be used for mobilisation and would be effective as Mr Masiyiwa’s deputy in the party. It was reasoned that ZimPF could do with his experience. Although Sibanda was not at the meeting, he was certainly well and fully represented.”
Mr Sibanda could not be reached for comment.

On the other hand, MDC-T sources told this paper that some high-ranking party officials wanted Mr Masiyiwa in their fold, but the proposal was facing serious resistance from party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

A source said, “We all agree that he can be a compromise candidate, but (Tsvangirai) is not prepared to give way to another candidate. Many people in the party feel that we can certainly build good relations with Mr Masiyiwa. However, the issue remains that some like Tsvangirai view his proposed coming into the party as a challenge to their posts.”

A fortnight ago, Dr Mujuru purportedly expelled seven ZimPF founders, among them Messrs Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa and Munacho Mutezo, accusing them of being Zanu-PF functionaries.
The seven countered this by purportedly dismissing Dr Mujuru from the party.

Since then, several senior members like Messrs Ray Kaukonde, Sylvester Nguni and Agrippa Mutambara dumped Dr Mujuru. Their faction has been searching for a leader, with Mr Kaukonde at one point being touted as a possibility.

MDC-T, too, has been facing leadership contests, with powerful elements in the party and its Western backers doubting Mr Tsvangirai’s capacity following his series of electoral losses to President Mugabe and Zanu-PF since 2000. - Sunday Mail

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