National People’s Party (NPP) members from Masvingo have claimed they have uncovered a plot by some officials from Tendai Biti’s People Democratic Party (PDP) to infiltrate and cause another split of the former Vice-President’s party in order weaken her on the coalition negotiating table.
Speaking to NewsDay they alleged the plot includes assuming provincial and national positions at the NPP’s elections to establish a substantive national leadership scheduled for today, and then months later defect to the PDP. The alleged defections would make Mujuru to be viewed as weak and, therefore, unsuitable for very senior positions on the opposition coalition. An official who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said:
The PDP members still believed Biti is the best candidate to lead the coalition on account of Tsvangirai’s ill-health, but without numbers, they still face a mountain task against Mujuru. The plot is thus to have mass defections from Mujuru’s camp to prop up Biti’s profile and take over leadership of the coalition ahead of the Mujuru. When we started the NPP, we agreed to accept anyone from anywhere and treat each other as equal partners. We had people from PDP. They joined the party and after a meeting with Biti on January 13 in Masvingo, they reinforced the recruitment drive in other provinces. Now they are a structure within a structure.
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The official alleges that in Masvingo they are working with a senior NPP official who thinks he is building his own team that will help him take over from Mujuru in two years, but he doesn’t know that the guys have an immediate plan to collapse the NPP within six months. NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said:
Normally, when you get allegations of such gravity, it is prudent to study them first and comment later.
But PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed the allegations as an attempt of Mugabe’s CIO to collapse the coalition talks before the polls. He said his party has no intention to undermine Mujuru or any other opposition party.