SEVERAL Zanu-PF legislators yesterday distanced themselves from the newly formed New Patriotic Front launched by disgruntled members of the G40 cabal whose leader Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri met former president Robert Mugabe at his Borrowdale residence in Harare last week to discuss the morphing of the cabal into a political outfit.
This came as the NPF yesterday confirmed meeting the former President at his Blue Roof mansion on Thursday last week where Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri was anointed as the NPF’s interim leader.
The NPF confirmed the meeting through its nomadic spokesperson Mr Jealousy Mawarire.
Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri, the NPF said, was its presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections.
In the meeting, Mr Mawarire said Mr Mugabe told Mutinhiri to rope in youths in the project saying: “I hope your NPF party will empower the youths to take over. Don’t oppress them; make sure they are not harassed.”
One of the G40 cabal members, Mr Makhosini Hlongwane distanced himself from the outfit saying he would today issue a joint statement with his colleague Dr Walter Mzembi, both of whom have been linked to NPF.
“We are preparing a comprehensive joint statement with my brother, Dr Mzembi responding to the media reports linking us to that political outfit. It is unfortunate that the stories were published without seeking our comments,” said Mr Hlongwane.
One of G40 members, Mr Jeppy Jaboon said he was not aware of the existence of the political outfit and wondered how his name was roped in.
“I am dismayed that The Herald has not checked and verified its intelligence source alluding to the formation of NPF whose conscription include people like me and other comrades whom I know are equally disappointed with the reckless name dropping into the structures of this party. I for one was expelled from Zanu-PF and am not part and parcel of the formation of this outfit,” he said.
Mr Jaboon was Bikita South legislator before he was expelled both from Zanu-PF and Parliament over his links with the G40 cabal.
Another G40 member, Mr Shadreck Mashayamombe said he was not a member of the political outfit neither did he attend any of its meetings.
“I want to make it categorically clear that I am not a member of the NPF. I do not know who its members are neither have I ever attended any of its meetings. I have just read about its formation in the media,” said Mr Mashayamombe, who is former Harare South legislator but was subsequently fired over his links with G40 cabal.
Uzumba MP Cde Simba Mudarikwa rubbished claims linking him to the political outfit.
“I do not have time to waste. I am one of those MPs who were ready for the impeachment debate last year and why would I join a political outfit whose origin I have no idea of?” said Cde Mudarikwa.
Chikomba East MP Cde Edgar Mbwembwe said he had no links with the NPF and accused some politicians of trying to smear his name. “I am annoyed by the allegations which are completely unfounded. There are criminal elements lingering somewhere which are not comfortable with my presence who are simply expressing their wish which unfortunately will not materialise,” said Cde Mbwembwe.
In a statement NPF spokesperson, Mr Mawarire claimed that the party commanded two thirds of Zanu-PF members while another third was still undecided.
Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri resigned from Zanu –PF last week to lead the NPF, which he said was conceived on November 19 2017 after the military intervened to avert the deteriorating situation through Operation Restore Legacy.
The NPF sought to discredit the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa despite receiving a thumbs up from regional and international organisations such as Sadc, African Union and the United Nations, among others.
Several countries particularly in the West have already expressed interest to work with the new dispensation.
Rtd Brig Gen Mutinhiri made an announcement last Friday that he was leaving Zanu-PF on flimsy reasons about the new dispensation, despite that he had shown eagerness to participate since the military intervention in November last year.