National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru will this week launch a series of rallies in rural areas, setting the stage for a bruising political battle with President Robert Mugabe, who is set to soon address 10 rallies organised by the Zanu PF youth league.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/RICHARD CHIDZA
But traditional leaders in Gutu South have reportedly refused to meet Mujuru, who is expected in the district today ahead of her rally at Maungwa business centre tomorrow as campaigning for next year’s make-or-break elections start in earnest.
Mugabe is due to launch his meet- the-youth rallies in Marondera on June 3.
Mujuru was reportedly scheduled to meet the traditional leaders today to soften the ground ahead of the tomorrow’s rally, but the meeting now hangs in the balance after most of the traditional leaders reportedly declined to meet her for fear of reprisals from Zanu PF.
The meeting was being organised by the party’s national co-ordinator Dzikamai Mavhaire.
Chief Mawere yesterday said he was away in Masvingo and did not know anything about the meeting, insisting any political leader wanting to meet him should invite him through the district administrator (DA)’s office.
“I am not aware of the meeting. I haven’t received any invitation from the DA,” Chief Mawere said.
“But, in any way, I don’t want to be part of those political gatherings. As chiefs, we are supposed to be apolitical and, as a result, even if she was to invite me, I would not attend. I can only meet her if she comes to my home because I cannot run away from my home.”
Chief Nerupiri said he would not attend if he was to be invited. He said he would only attend meetings where he was invited by government to do government work or business gatherings, not political gatherings.
“We are not supposed to be political; I will not attend such meetings. I am the leader of the business community here and I will only attend business meetings,” Chief Nerupiri said.
Mavhaire was not answering calls yesterday to shed light on Mujuru’s proposed meeting with the traditional leaders ahead of tomorrow’s rally.
Mujuru had already confirmed the rally in a statement released by her spokesperson and NPP secretary-general-designate Gift Nyandoro yesterday.
“All roads are leading to Maungwa business centre in Gutu on the 11th of May 2017, where NPP is to have a mega star rally,” Nyandoro said in the statement.
“For the record, (the) Maungwa star rally in Gutu is officially marking Dr Mujuru’s meet-the-people rallies in the rural areas with more rallies already lined up for the rural populace across the country.
“We urge Zimbabweans from all walks of life to come and hear the way forward for our problems-riddled country from Mother Zimbabwe, a decorated and distinguished war heroine. The game is on and don’t be left behind.”
Mujuru’s rallies will coincide with Mugabe’s nationwide tours meeting Zanu PF youths ahead of the make-or-break elections expected in the second half of next year.
Mujuru recently inked a pre-election pact with veteran opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai as part of plans to set up a grand coalition of democratic forces to take on the ailing Mugabe next year.
Mugabe has already been confirmed as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate in the general election. He will be 94.
Mujuru, according to the statement, will use the rally to lay out her party’s programme and strategy as part of the election campaign.
“Dr Mujuru, who also heads the political committee in Nera (National Electoral Reform Agenda), will take the opportunity to explain to Zimbabweans her vision and strategic thrust on a number of issues affecting the country ranging from issues of grand coalition of progressive opposition forces, economic and political problems confronting the country to the call for voter registration and will also officially unveil NPP’s road map to the people’s elective convention to be held on a date to be announced soon,” Nyandoro said.