HARARE - Eeven in death former army general Solomon Mujuru, the only man that could stand up to President Robert Mugabe seems to be giving the 92-year-old leader some sleepless nights — as his wife Joice is grabbing more and more supporters from the divided Zanu PF.
Although Mujuru died in 2011 — his wife Joice a former vice president — is defying Mugabe albeit as an outsider after she was unceremoniously dismissed from Zanu PF in 2014.
Now she is not only watching the comical political drama unfolding in Zanu PF from the terraces but is building her own political outfit known as the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF).
Analysts canvassed by the Daily News on Sunday said indeed the former VP, who was married to the late army general whose charred remains were found after a mysterious inferno, will certainly give Mugabe a good run for his money.
Apart from the painful circumstances surrounding her husband’s death, the analysts said Mujuru has links to most of the people in present Zanu PF and this goes back to as far as the liberation war in which she emerged a heroine.
ZPF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, another leading light in the liberation struggle told the Daily News on Sunday last week that there is a queue of Zanu PF functionaries who are watching the clock ready to jump ship at the opportune time.
“There are lots of people. If you go to Zanu PF headquarters, almost 75 – 85 percent of the people there are itching to join us. Imagine if the head office is populated with our people, what will happen when we launch. You will see an avalanche of them coming to join,” Gumbo said.
But Mujuru’s critics say like other former Zanu PF stalwarts who include Simba Makoni who dared cross the Rubicon — her star will wane and her political outfit will zoom into doom.
But one unspoken fear in Zanu PF is that she will certainly take some supporters especially considering the dishevelled state in which the ruling party is in.
Analysts are agreed that Mujuru could indeed spring a surprise and achieve what the opposition has failed to do in decades.
“It is very good for multi-party democracy that Amai Joice Mujuru has registered her political party and one hopes that more purges from Zanu PF will swell her numbers,” political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said.
He said that the coming in of the ZPF would assist to bring change in Zimbabwe.
“The MDC has struggled alone for a while now so the formation of another serious opposition should be welcome news that a strong grand coalition is possible that could usher in a new democratic era,” he said.
Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said Mujuru’s party had the potential to shake the political arena, being the “new thing in town”.
He said some of the opposition political parties like the MDC had been stalked by problems, which had resulted in the formation of splinter groups, a factor which he said was working against the party.
“So, all these factors will make the Mujuru outfit look attractive. It’s a catch-22 situation as other opposition parties are weak and fragmented. So there are no genuine choices, no genuine alternatives,” he said.
He however, said Mujuru might forever be associated with Zanu PF and that could work against her.
“She has been in the Zanu PF top echelons for long and her ways of doing things are not going to be very different. An apple does not fall far away from the tree. We are likely to see the usual Zanu PF reference to liberation struggle in her party,” Saungweme said.
For long, people have been waiting for Mujuru’s party, an aspect which another South Africa-based analyst Taurai Mabhachi said would lure more supporters.
“She has a team of experienced persons politically and some of the very most educated and therefore enlightened to glean the demands of the 21st Century,” Mabhachi said.
He said that the multiplicity of political parties was healthy in a democratic society.
He was however, also quick to note that the electorate might be sceptical of her party, due to the fact that she has been with Zanu PF all her life.
But Shakespeare Hamauswa, another political analyst said Mujuru enjoyed the support of the security sector, which would help boost her party ahead of any political party in Zimbabwe including Zanu PF.
“…her dismissal from Zanu PF has brought a lot of sympathy…the other condition is their capacity to attract a good calibre of politicians. Their only major weakness is that they have been part of Zanu PF and are regarded as perpetrators of violence,” Hamauswa said.
He added that Mujuru’s impact would also depend on her capacity to lure support in Matabeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces and the drive to work with other opposition political parties.