Vendors came out guns blazing criticising expelled Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) founding member, Rugare Gumbo, for denigrating them, while attacking ZimPF president, Joice Mujuru.
In an unwitting broadside aimed at besmirching Mujuru's provincial tours, Gumbo described the rallies as "meetings with vendors, which cannot change the situation" in the country.
"We don't believe in going around the provinces meeting vendors and so on, as if that is what can change the Zimbabwean situation," Gumbo said.
"Those people she (Mujuru) is meeting are not bona fide ZimPF members. These are just ordinary people, who are keen to see what Mujuru looks like."
But vendors hit back at the expelled ZimPF elder, saying his statements showed he had no respect for vendors, not out of choice, but because of the exigencies brought about by a dying economy presided over by Zanu-PF for which Gumbo was spokesperson.
Zimbabwe Vendors' Association president, Sten Zvorwadza, said he was shocked by Gumbo's utterances.
"I was shocked to bits when I heard that Gumbo belittled vendors, as people who are valueless and useless. I don't want to meddle in their fights, but his utterances are far from what should be said by a reasonable leader, who should understand that these vendors are not in the streets by choice, but because of failed government policies that Gumbo participated in crafting and implementing," he said
"We should declare that individuals like him and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko are enemies of the people. The statements they utter are dangerous for any political formation. If Gumbo is with ZimPF, it discredits his party; if he is with Zanu PF, it also discredits Zanu PF in as much as it discredits him as an individual."
Zvorwadza said the 2018 elections would be decided by members of the informal sector that Gumbo was belittling.
ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, said Gumbo's utterances were unfortunate and not representative of ZimPF led by Mujuru.
"It is good that, as they speak, they expose the kind of heartless people they are. It is this bigoted thinking that they exude which prompted us to expel them," he retorted.
"In a country where the unemployment rate is more than 90%, most people are in the informal sector and any leader, who has people at heart, should make time with informal traders, the unemployed and all other disadvantaged social groups as Mujuru is doing.
"These are the people experiencing the vagaries of a decaying economy. Gumbo doesn't want to meet them because he has no attachment to them. He does not feel for them. Yes, he can talk of ideology, the same Zanu PF ideology that has impoverished most of us and rewarded a few like him," he said.