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Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter—
Hardly a year after launching Zimbabwe People First, the under fire Dr Joice Mujuru who broke ranks with the opposition party’s elders, yesterday formed another political outfit and named it the National People’s Party (NPP). The new party was formed under the guise of rebranding the feuding ZimPF formed on March 1, 2015. Dr Mujuru had a fallout with other founding members including Messrs Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo and was followed by counter lawsuits.
Dr Mujuru made the announcement at a Press conference in Harare yesterday.
The latest development comes after several members from the embattled party resigned citing confusion and paucity of leadership by Dr Mujuru.
Rival factions, with one standing in Dr Mujuru’s corner and another led by “Elders”, who include Messrs Mutasa, Gumbo and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, were laying claim to the name Zim-PF.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Dr Mujuru said following consultations with party members countrywide, they decided to rebrand.
“Members of the Fourth Estate, I am glad to meet you and make this important announcement about our party.
“After consultation with party membership of the 10 provinces, we have decided to rebrand ourselves in order to reflect our ideology and core values that make us a unique political party in this country.
“We realised that there were limitations that the name Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) had in reflecting and selling the national democratic ideology and core values we espouse as a party.
“As national democrats, we are guided by our main core values of Constitutionalism, Inclusivity, Devolution of Power and Equity (CIDE).
“We therefore agreed that our previous identity did not put to the fore these important persuasions,” she said.
Dr Mujuru said their national executive council, also held a meeting on Thursday where they resolved that from March 3, their “brand name” would be NPP.
“Our national executive council, the highest decision-making body in between national people’s elective conventions, in a meeting held yesterday, March 2, 2017, resolved that from today, March 3, 2017, our brand name be National People’s Party (NPP).
She said her party was determined to remove Zanu-PF from power.
“We derive our uniqueness in that we are national democrats who believe in inclusivity among races, tribes, regions, gender, among other things that identify with our common vision as a political party.
“In line with our core value of inclusivity, we remain committed to a coalition of progressive and democratic opposition forces to ensure we end the autocratic (President) Mugabe rule at elections in 2018,” Dr Mujuru said.
“To that end as the National People’s Party we would like to inform our members, supporters, well-wishers and Zimbabweans from across the political divide that we remain committed to the cause of a democratic Zimbabwe,” she added.
Dr Joice Mujuru was recently hit with a $5 million lawsuit by her former allies, Messrs Mutasa and Gumbo, over her utterances claiming that the two ‘‘wanted to mate with her’’.
The lawsuit was triggered by media reports on Dr Mujuru’s Masvingo rally, where she was quoted saying Messrs Mutasa and Gumbo wanted sexual favours from her, which she turned down.
Through their lawyer Mr Gerald Mlotshwa, the two also wanted the NewsDay, which published the article headlined “Bigwigs wanted to sleep with me”, to make a retraction with a full apology.
In the article, the paper reported that Dr Mujuru accused a group of party elders she expelled of seeking to turn her into a sex slave, after proposing that she be the opposition party’s “queen bee”.
She notably accused Messrs Mutasa and Gumbo of wanting her to sleep with male colleagues in the party, taking advantage of the fact that she is a widow.