Sipepa Nkomo to join ZimPF
OPPOSITION People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faces a massive exodus of senior members in Matabeleland region amid reports that its vice president Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on Thursday announced he was crossing over to Dr Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF). Dr Sipepa Nkomo has allegedly been promised the vice presidency at ZimPF. He held a closed door meeting at the homestead of one of the party’s senior members at Lusumbani Village in Hwange where he reportedly announced to senior party provincial members his decision to dump PDP and join ZimPF.
In attendance were his wife Mrs Roseline Sipepa Nkomo, PDP deputy national organising secretary Mr Gift Mabhena, Matabeleland North deputy organising secretary Mr Faza Mpunzi, Mrs Selina Mbewe, Mr Mehluli Sibanda and Mr Lucky Ndlovu.
Insiders say Dr Sipepa Nkomo’s decision follows the failure by Dr Mujuru and PDP leader Mr Tendai Biti to agree on the terms of a coalition. Mr Biti reportedly wants to be president of the alliance but Dr Mujuru would have none of it. She promised Dr Sipepa Nkomo the post of vice president as well as five senior executive positions for Matabeleland region.
PDP spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume said he wasn’t aware of the Hwange meeting and Mr Sipepa Nkomo’s defection.
Mr Mabhena confirmed the meeting took place but said Dr Sipepa Nkomo was still weighing his options.
“He isn’t crossing over but said he is having consultative meetings to check on issues and concerns in PDP. He hasn’t made a decision. There will be a meeting at management level next week and that’s when he would then make a decision,” said Mr Mabhena.
He couldn’t shed more light on the kind of consultations Dr Sipepa Nkomo was making and the involvement of the provincial executive members. Dr Sipepa Nkomo couldn’t be reached as his mobile phone rang unanswered yesterday.
Mr Mafume said Mr Sipepa Nkomo was yet to communicate his decision to the party. “There is nothing like a fallout between the two leaders (Mr Biti and Dr Mujuru). Our president has put it clear that the coalition isn’t about positions and as such he can be anything in the new Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mr Mafume said coalition talks between his party and other opposition parties were in progress.
“He hasn’t communicated to the party but in the event that it’s true then that will only be a merry-go-round because the opposition is talking about a coalition. We are clear that the opposition is going to coalesce but not for positions. So far we are having talks, details of which I can’t divulge now. We have no contradiction and if he officially communicates we will see,” said Mr Mafume.
Two months ago Dr Sipepa Nkomo attended a ZimPF rally in Binga where he told Dr Mujuru he had been sent by Mr Biti to deliver a solidarity message. ZimPF spokesperson Mr Jealous Mawarire said:
“There is no formal communication to that effect but all I can say is that anyone can join People First. As a party we don’t caucus to lure people or promise positions. We are an all inclusive party and if he joins and becomes a bonafide member, he is free to challenge for any position.”