A little-known politician, Amos Chiseri has claimed that former vice-president Joice Mujuru stole the name of a political outfit he formed over two decades ago.
Mujuru last Friday formed the National People’s Party (NPP), ending a bitter wrangle over the control of Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) with Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa and others.
But in a fresh headache for Mujuru, Chiseri — who claims to be president and founder of NPP — has emerged from nowhere to claim ownership of the name.
“Let me categorically clarify that National People’s Party was formed in 1994 and joined a coalition with [Edgar] Tekere’s ZUM [Zimbabwe Unity Movement] in the 1995 elections.
“The party was never dissolved and we have no plans to fold up in the near future,” Chiseri said in a statement.
“The new move by Mai Mujuru is shocking as she is well aware of our existence. Taking our name without even consulting us was a deliberate malicious move, which will not go unchallenged.”
He claimed the NPP was in the process of making overtures to political parties in the Coalition of Democrats (Code) with the intention of joining a coalition ahead of the 2018 plebiscite.
Chiseri said his outfit also had a scheduled meeting with MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in a bid to join a coalition of opposition parties.
“Mai Mujuru’s stunt compromises our party in these coalition talks. We are giving Mai Mujuru and her team 14 days to find a new name or we drag them to the courts,” he threatened.
“We advise our party members and partners to remain focused and not to be shaken by these machinations by our detractors which are aimed at destabilising our party.”
However, Mujuru’s NPP said the party verified with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that no other party was registered in that name.
“We checked with ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] to find out if any political party had registered itself with that name with the intention to contest elections,” NPP spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire said.
“Our search showed no party did. If there is anyone with a query, they are free to approach the courts and show cause.”
Zimbabwe has over 50 political parties and some of them have never participated in elections, amid suspicions that they are formed by the Central Intelligence Organisation to confuse voters