Sipepa Nkomo dumps People’s Democratic Party
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