Zimbabwe People First hits Bulawayo campaign trail
BULAWAYO — The newly formed Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) led by Joice Mujuru is holding a series of rallies here as it pushes to wrest control of the second city at the 2018 polls.
ZPF has held three rallies so far in Bulawayo Central, Luveve and in Magwegwe.
The party’s interim chairman for the information and publicity committee, Methuseli Moyo, told the Financial Gazette on the sidelines of the Magwegwe rally that ZPF was slowly gaining ground.
“In Bulawayo, this is our third public meeting. We had the first one in Luveve about four weeks ago. We had another one in Bulawayo Central two weeks back. Today we are here in Magwegwe as ZPF and the turnout has been growing,” he said.
The party has been having meetings in other parts of the country, among them Harare and Manicaland provinces.
“As far as we are concerned all is well and we are moving smoothly. There are other teams in the provinces. There is a separate team in Matabeleland North. Just two weeks back we had a meeting in Victoria Falls,” he added.
The new party is, however, finding the task to reach out to the rural electorate an arduous exercise because of cash constraints.
“We hope once we officially launch the party and we are able to mobilise resources, in terms of motor vehicles and other logistics, we will be able to invade the rural areas. But the reports that we are getting from the provinces are very encouraging,” Moyo said.
It is understood that October has been set as the month for ZPF’s first elective congress, with Mujuru expected to be endorsed as party president.
“In the next two to three months you are going to see a lot of activities by People First on the ground. The future looks bright. We get countless messages daily from people wishing to join the party even at night,” Moyo said.
Esnath Bulayani, ZPF’s Bulawayo interim provincial chairperson and coordinator, told the Magwegwe rally that her party had its own ideology, which made it stand out from the other political parties in the country.
She said ZPF, whose objective is to promote democracy, would deliver Zimbabweans from oppression which they have been subjected to by the ZANU-PF government over years.
Moyo said ZPF remained open to working with other opposition political parties, despite indications that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai was seriously mulling going it alone in trying to unseat ZANU-PF from power.
“A coalition is always desirable but it has to be mutual,” said Moyo. “If other parties say they want it, we have no reason to say we don’t want it. But if they say they don’t want it, we are confident we can go it alone.”
Political commentator, Zibusiso Ndlovu, said chances were high that ZPF might garner a significant number of votes in urban areas, in the same way that Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, Simba Makoni, did in the 2008 elections after ditching ZANU-PF.
“However, ZPF’s concentration in urban areas is questionable as ZANU-PF’s stronghold is in the rural areas,” said Ndlovu.
He said if the Mujuru-led party was serious about winning the elections, its focus should be on the rural areas where there are more people compared to urban areas.
Sipho Nyoni, another political commentator, said he believed ZPF could make headways even in rural areas, as long as it was organised and had grassroots structures.
“Part of the ZPF strategy is based on the belief that the urban turf is fertile or easy ground from which to launch opposition political parties as most of the urban populace is very disgruntled and frustrated with the current political status quo,” said Nyoni.
He added that he foresaw the party faring very well in the 2018 polls as it had experienced politicians who could better tackle ZANU-PF since they were once part of it.
Currently the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC-T each hold six Parliamentary seats in Bulawayo.
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