UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda says Zimbabwe’s ZANU PF officials who came into the country recently wanted to develop a relationship with the ruling party.

According to Zimbabwe’s The NewsHawks Newspaper, a Zanu PF delegation led by Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu recently visited Lusaka to manage – and hopefully improve – frosty diplomatic ties.

“Informed sources on both sides of the Zambezi River said this week part of the agenda of the meeting included formal party-to-party introductions; developing a fraternal relationship between the two parties which never existed; opening new lines of communication for engagement; tackling local, regional and international issues of mutual interest and managing the relationship between UPND and CCC – in fact isolating Zimbabwe’s main rebranded opposition. The sources said Zanu PF was more concerned about sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, the traditional refugee for the party to avoid scrutiny and criticism by neighbours, as well as isolating CCC, while UPND was worried about democracy and good governance issues,” wrote The NewsHawks Newspaper.

And in an interview, Imenda said according to the Zanu PF’s policies, they wanted to deal with the ruling party and did not want to be seen to be in a relationship with the opposition.

“They came…they just wanted to establish a relationship. They say their policy is to deal with the ruling party. When PF was in the ruling party, they had a relationship. So, now there is another party in power, so they want to establish a relationship. They came to visit us, they said they wanted to establish a relationship and so on. They said it is their policy, they don’t want to be seen to be in a relationship with an opposition party, that cannot happen. So, we said ‘yes we have heard’,” she said.

Meanwhile, Imenda said anyone was welcome to join the ruling party.

“As far as we are concerned, everybody is free to join the party, it is a party for the people. Of course, people have different opinions, so in every situation, there will be those who will think that it is not a good idea, and there will be those who will say it is a good idea. So, I think the majority believe it is a good idea. If people want to join the ruling party, what is wrong with that? If somebody wants to join, why should we say no? It is a democracy, people are free to join any party. Apart from founder members, of which I am one of them, along the way, the past 23 years [people] have been joining, why didn’t we stop them? And if we had stopped them, would UPND be where it is today? No. So, the fact that we are in power, then we say ‘no stop! You cannot join us’ what is that? Anybody is free and the leadership of the party feels that anybody who wants to join is welcome,” said Imenda.