The People First political project, fronted by former expelled Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru and comprising many others that were booted out of Zanu-PF, is holding secret meetings countrywide preparing to launch a political party, investigations have revealed.
It is reported that the covert project has also attracted the interest of Western donors who are looking for an alternative opposition leader to replace MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai whom they now regard as a spent force.
Although Dr Mujuru has remained silent over her political future following her expulsion from Zanu-PF, The Herald is reliably informed that a lot of underground work is going on with recruitment of members being the major priority.
Self-imposed spokesperson of the PF project Mr Rugare Gumbo, who was also expelled from Zanu-PF, yesterday confirmed that canvassing of support had gathered momentum ahead of the party’s launch.
In Mashonaland East, sources said, the project was being oiled by former Zanu-PF provincial chairman Mr Ray Kaukonde.
It is understood that Mr Kaukonde has assembled a team led by some former members of the provincial executive team (names supplied).
Others who have been listed as PF members in the province include members of Zanu-PF who are serving in various capacities that include resource mobilisation and recruitment and coordinating registration of members.
In other provinces such as Masvingo and Manicaland, it is understood that recruitment of members is in full swing.
“Don’t be fooled by Mai Mujuru’s silence,” said the source.
“She is working underground preparing for the launch of her party and his agents are busy recruiting people in various provinces.
“The project seems to be well funded because we are told that people are being given money for attending meetings and T-Shirts are also being dished out although people are still afraid to wear them.”
When contacted for comment yesterday Mr Gumbo said: “Yes, we are going to form a party and we will let you know at the right time. We are mobilising people in preparation of the launch of the party and it is our democratic right to do so.”
Asked on the leadership structure of the People First, Mr Gumbo skirted the issue choosing to say: “We will announce that at the launch of the party.”
Sources said it was only Dr Mujuru’s post presidency position that was clear while massive jostling was at play for other positions including that of the vice president.
Dr Mujuru and many of her followers were expelled from Zanu-PF last year for plotting to unseat President Mugabe illegally.
Some of her close associates include former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Mr Didymus Mutasa, former Politburo members Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Dzikamai Mavhaire.