HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s panicking post-congress Zanu PF has stepped up its efforts to sow seeds of divisions and destroy the People First movement that is presumptively led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru, the Daily News has learnt.
Well-placed sources said at the weekend that the project to destroy the movement, which insiders say is still a Zanu PF faction in reality, was allegedly being spearheaded through “heavy infiltration by security agents”, as well as propaganda and misinformation campaigns.
The movement’s spokesperson and liberation struggle stalwart, Rugare Gumbo, confirmed the “massive but futile attacks”, warning that these assaults would worsen as the eargerly-anticipated 2018 national elections get closer.
“Zanu PF will not give Gamatox (People First) any opportunity to take root, and the party does not also want Mai Mujuru to join forces with (former Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai.
“This is why the party is throwing everything at this faction, from a variety of angles. Mark my words, Zanu PF will make sure that People First dies a natural death,” one of the sources said, pointing to the “propaganda assault” directed at both Mujuru and the movement as evidence.
Gumbo agreed and said there was “a transparent mission to portray a gloomy picture of non-existent discord” in the People First movement and to present Mujuru as “a vacillating leader” who was scared stiff of breaking ranks with the post-congress Zanu PF.
Yet another ruse being used against Mujuru and People First was “the falsehood” that the former VP still had her heart in Zanu PF and that she was meeting ruling party emissaries quietly, and that she may even have met Mugabe himself recently.
“Those of us who know her and deal with her on a weekly basis know that she is not meeting anyone, nor will she meet the president. She is committed to the People First cause and will never betray the people,” Gumbo said.
Asked if the movement was not behind in terms of setting up its structures, he said “all is on track”, noting further that the 2018 elections were, at any rate, still three years away and “by then we will have set up our structures.”
“All that is happening is that the post-congress Zanu PF is desperate to divide the People First project, and wants to destroy it at all costs. We are aware of their machinations, but we are not worried because we know that they are desperate,” Gumbo added.
Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy leader, Temba Mliswa, a former Zanu PF provincial chairperson, also said there was a deliberate attempt by the powers that be to destroy People First even before the party was formed.
“The government, using State media, has an insatiable appetite to destroy People First and they even end up twisting what I would have said to suit their agendas,” Mliswa said at the weekend.
This comes as the Daily News has recently reported that Mujuru, the hapless widow of the late liberation struggle icon, Solomon Mujuru, had come under increasing State surveillance following the launch of her widely-acclaimed manifesto.