THE Joice Mujuru-led People First (PF) project has been hit by fierce power struggles amid reports some top party officials last week attempted to block Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform leader Max Mnkandla and Esnat Bulayani from attending the party co-ordinators’ meeting in Bulawayo last week.
BY SILAS NKALA
Party insiders told Southern Eye that former ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti openly told Mnkandla and Bulayani to get out of the meeting, which was held at Khumalo Hotel on October 17, but the two refused.
Mnkandla, a former Zipra combatant, says he has gone around the country campaigning for the People First, particularly in Matabeleland provinces.
Bulayani, formerly a member of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, also joined People First recently.
According to insiders, Mnkandla and Bulayani were targeted because they were opposed to having ex-Zanu PF members dominating top leadership positions in PF.
The project’s ward co-ordinator, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mnkandla and Bulayani were also against some structures which Mavhaire and Bhasikiti and former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda wanted put in place.
“There is a proposition that there must be a structure of 15 war veterans at ward level, which Mnkandla and Bulayani are against, as they believe this will make PF look like a Zanu PF extension,” the insider said.
The co-ordinator said Mnkandla and Bulayani were called to a meeting in Harare which they attended on Sunday where the matter was reportedly discussed and the outcome of the meeting is unknown.
The co-ordinator said they were called by Mavhaire and PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo to attend the meeting.
Contacted for comment, Gumbo was evasive and asked Southern Eye to either call Mavhaire or Mnkandla himself for their side of the story.
“I am not sure about that. Why don’t you call Mavhaire or Mnkandla?” he said.
Mnkandla yesterday declined to comment, saying Mavhaire or Gumbo were better placed to comment.
Mavhaire too declined to comment over the matter yesterday.
“I do not speak to the Press, okay?” he said before switching off his mobile phone.
Bhasikiti repeatedly switched off his mobile when contacted.