NATIONAL People’s Party (NPP) leader, Joice Mujuru, is in talks with fired MDC-T vice-president, Thokozani Khupe to form an electoral alliance ahead of the general elections and has shut out MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, highly placed insiders have said.
The two leaders, who were both ousted from their political parties and feel they are victims of gender dynamics in Zanu PF and MDC-T, respectively met in Bulawayo last week and held talks on how they could possibly form an alliance that could challenge both Zanu PF and the MDC-T led by Chamisa.
A source said both leaders were worried that their support base as individual parties was not sufficient to carry a majority vote, while Mujuru was concerned that her People’s Rainbow Coalition had not generated excitement ahead of the polls.
“The leaders met during the women electoral convergence [summit] in Bulawayo and together with PDP’s Lucia Matibenga agreed in principle that an alliance ahead of the polls would be critical, however, the sticking point is on who will lead the alliance,” a source said.
NPP officials want Mujuru, already endorsed as the PRC presidential candidate, to be leader, while Khupe, believed to have the Matabeleland vote, comes in as a deputy, however, the latter’s supporters want her to lead.
“Ultimately that is the sticking point, the leadership and the presidential candidacy. They both want to lead and it does not look like any one of them is willing to let the other lead,” another source said.
Khupe’s spokesperson, Linda Masarira, was non committal when approached for comment, only saying “the media will be advised in due course”.
Pressed to explain on the leadership standoff between Khupe and Mujuru, Masarira said: “They will find each other soon, don’t worry.”
Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro said he could not comment on the talks because he had not yet been briefed by his principal, but he was aware that Mujuru was not in any talks with Chamisa.
“NPP under the able leadership of Mujuru wishes to set the record straight pertaining to mischievous falsehoods and lies being peddled and circulated on social media to the effect that its leadership has resolved to join the MDC Alliance. NPP has not made such a resolution and no such meeting has ever occurred as alleged,” he said.
Nyandoro said NPP has not held any talks with MDC-T since the death of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but said he was to get a briefing on the Khupe engagement.
“Since the death of Tsvangirai, there has never been resumption of constructive engagement by the parties involved except social media falsehoods,” he said.