Sipepa Nkomo dumps Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nduduzo Tshuma /Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Re­porters

FOR­MER Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party (PDP) vice pres­i­dent Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has of­fi­cially crossed over to the Zim­babwe Peo­ple First (ZimPF), a de­vel­op­ment that has strained re­la­tions be­tween the two par­ties.

Dr Sipepa Nkomo, who de­fected with more than 50 for­mer PDP mem­bers, was of­fi­cially pre­sented be­fore party sup­port­ers in Bu­l­awayo on Thurs­day.

He was wel­comed by ZimPF na­tional or­gan­is­ing sec­re­tary Mr Dzika­mai Mavhaire.

His de­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to sources, has not only strained re­la­tions be­tween the two par­ties but also scup­pered ne­go­ti­a­tions for a coali­tion.

The par­ties, be­fore the de­fec­tions, sent mem­bers to present sol­i­dar­ity mes­sages at each other’s func­tions. They were sched­uled to meet on Wed­nes­day for coali­tion ne­go­ti­a­tions but the meet­ing was can­celled as PDP felt be­trayed by ZimPF as news of Dr Sipepa Nkomo’s de­fec­tion had started spread­ing.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence, Dr Sipepa Nkomo said he joined the Dr Joice Mu­ju­ruled party as he had lost faith in the sin­cer­ity of par­ties ne­go­ti­at­ing for a grand coali­tion.

“My hum­ble opin­ion is that some peo­ple are play­ing to the gallery. There is a lot of talk about this grand coali­tion but we are at the end of 2016. Do you hon­estly think that we will be able to or­gan­ise all the par­ties into a grand coali­tion to con­test in 2018?

“Al­ready there are pro­nounce­ments that this per­son should lead the grand coali­tion so you see, there is not enough time to or­gan­ise that,” said Dr Sipepa Nkomo.

Ad­dress­ing ZimPF mem­bers, Dr Sipepa Nkomo said the day was the “most dif­fi­cult” mo­ment in his political life.

“It is in­deed ex­cru­ci­at­ing and heart­break­ing to an­nounce my de­par­ture from a party that I played an un­stint­ing role in its for­ma­tion to join the Zim­babwe Peo­ple First party,” he said.

There was spec­u­la­tion be­fore his de­fec­tion that Dr Sipepa Nkomo was eye­ing the vice pres­i­dency of ZimPF whom he be­lieves has a bet­ter fu­ture than PDP.

Some said it was un­ten­able for Dr Sipepa Nkomo to re­main in the PDP be­cause of his fall­out with leader Mr Tendai Biti.

“I per­son­ally had a very se­nior po­si­tion as vice pres­i­dent in the PDP and those that took the same de­ci­sion as mine had po­si­tions in PDP as well. This strug­gle is not about se­cur­ing in­flu­en­tial lead­er­ship po­si­tions in any party,” said Dr Nkomo dis­miss­ing re­ports that Dr Mu­juru had of­fered him a po­si­tion in the party.

In a sign that things were not well in PDP, Dr Sipepa Nkomo said: “It is im­per­a­tive that we do not be­come so blind with loy­alty and mean­ing­less pride not to de­ci­pher the stub­born truth when some­thing is un­work­able.”

PDP Bu­l­awayo provin­cial spokesper­son Mr Ed­win Ndlovu yes­ter­day ac­cused ZimPF of be­ing back­stab­bers ne­go­ti­at­ing in bad faith.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate the peo­ple we’re ne­got i at i n g with for a grand coali­tion go be­hind our backs to en­tice our mem­bers. We frown upon such ac­tions by ZimPF. We are also dis­ap­pointed that the peo­ple we sent as PDP for grand coali­tion [talks] were ne­go­ti­at­ing for their new political home,” said Mr Ndlovu. He said Dr Sipepa-Nkomo led the PDP in the ne­go­ti­a­tions for a grand coali­tion. Mr Ndlovu said the PDP would not be de­terred by the de­fec­tions but would con­tinue with their mo­bil­i­sa­tion drive and their struc­tures were on the ground re­cruit­ing peo­ple to re­place de­fected mem­bers. Mr Mavhaire how­ever, down­played the sour­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two par­ties say­ing there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween en­gage­ment be­tween the two or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­ual de­ci­sions by peo­ple to join ZimPF.

Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo

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