By Staff Reporter
PEOPLE’S Rainbow Coalition (PRC) presidential candidate, Joice Mujuru says MDC-T faction leader Thokozani Khupe snubbed her overture to form a women led opposition front with her, claims the ex-deputy Prime Minister denies.
Mujuru said this during a public election discussion forum in Harare this past week Zimbabwean women squandered an opportunity to combine their collective voices through a merger among themselves.
The discussion focused on whether the country was ready for a female President.
Other panellists included Melbah Dzapasi, leader of #1980 Freedom Movement and Violet Mariyacha of United Democracy Movement (UDM).
The July 30 presidential election will be contested among an unprecedented 23 candidates of whom just four are women.
In her comments, Mujuru said the forthcoming general election gave women who are contesting as presidential candidate an opportunity to unite so as not to split their vote.
“I wish all women could have joined hands together so that we accumulate lots of votes from mostly women, youths and the disabled and men too,” Mujuru said.
“I approached the leader of the MDC-T, Khupe and I did not get a reply and this obviously has a bearing on the outcome of the votes.
“The people from Khupe’s camp promised to come back to me so that we map the way forward but up until today I am yet to get a response.”
But Khupe, who was part of the panel, MDC-T denied ever knowing anything about the former State Vice President’s unity overtures.
She also dismissed the notion that the four aspiring female candidates will vote among themselves.
“She (Mujuru) has made it very clear that she did not meet me in person; she was dealing with other people,” Khupe said.
“And those people did not tell me anything about Mujuru’s proposal and I don’t even know what she had offered me.
“But let’s forget about the coalition, we have only three weeks to go into an election. Right now we are supposed to be focusing on campaigning.”
Khupe added, “Let us look at reality. Are you saying of the 23 presidential candidates who are contesting, only votes will be spilt among the women candidates?”
Although the poll will be fought among 23 candidates, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa are seen as the two most likely candidates to land the country’s top job.