Mujuru, ZPF hit ground running

HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) team, who officially announced their entry into opposition politics last week, are building up a head of steam as they prepare for the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

Yesterday, the widow of the late liberation struggle icon, General Solomon Mujuru, was interviewed on popular South African talk radio station, SAfm, where she was grilled for an hour about her vision for Zimbabwe and her time in Zanu PF and government — as she takes her message of a new dawn for the country to Diasporans and other audiences beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

At the same time, ZPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News that the new kid on the political block was working on an urgent plan to take on board all disgruntled war veterans and Zanu PF officials who no longer viewed the warring ruling party as their political home.

He said as it is, ZPF had been received well in all the perceived Zanu PF strongholds, with the new party now ratcheting up its efforts to woo and absorb all those ruling party stalwarts who feel alienated from the former liberation movement, including war veterans and all those accused of belonging to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction.

“We have hit the ground running and are ready to work with everyone, from civil servants, the army, police and others. All Zimbabweans are suffering and they have had enough of Zanu PF,” the buoyant Gumbo said.

Asked if ZPF was ready to work with expelled war veterans like Chris Mutsvangwa and Zanu PF bigwigs perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa, he said “absolutely yes”.

“The president (Mujuru) will make a statement on that soon. It is very important for all war veterans to work together for the country because we fought in the liberation struggle together,” Gumbo said.

It also emerged yesterday that ZPF has dispatched emissaries nationwide as the party seeks to take advantage of the seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars devouring Zanu PF, with the mission to recruit more ruling party officials and supporters to the ranks of the new party.

“Although we launched our party in Harare last week because it is the capital, the president will soon be going to every corner of the country again, to reach out to the people who are yearning to interact with her.

“We have also lined up several mass rallies because people are very excited,” Gumbo said, adding that Mujuru was “more than ready” for the tumultuous opposition politics in Zimbabwe, where violence — perpetrated by Zanu PF in the main — was all too common.

“Many Zimbabweans who are tired of Zanu PF believe that she is the one to end Zanu PF’s rule. She is certainly up to the task.”

In the meantime, and despite feigning bravado in public spaces, Zanu PF bigwigs are said to be seriously rattled by ZPF, as it emerges that many ruling party legislators are now ready to jump ship for the outfit.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News earlier this week that the current mood in the upper echelons of the former liberation movement resembled that of a funeral as “not one person is sure how the next few months will pan out for the party” in the wake of the launch of ZPF.

“For a long time, many people thought that Mai Mujuru did not have the stomach to take on Gushungo (President Robert Mugabe) and the party (Zanu PF). Now that it is happening, the atmosphere at the top resembles a funeral as 2018 approaches.

“It is not helping matters that the chefs (senior party officials) and the security sector are all sucked in the terrible dog-eat-dog war for power, which makes it difficult for anyone to plan effective counter strategies against People First,” one of the sources said.

A number of Zanu PF MPs who spoke to the Daily News confirmed that they were on the verge of quitting the warring party, and that all they were waiting for now was “the best opportunity to join Mai Mujuru” — a looming development that the ZPF leader herself alluded to last week.

Speaking in an interview with this newspaper then, Mujuru said ZPF was “not a three-person party”, but rather one that had deep roots, including in the ruling party and the security establishment.

“You may think we are the only three who are in People First (Mujuru, (Rugare) Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa), no. We have people in Parliament there who are the majority who are saying push ... why would you be afraid of being relieved of your duties?” Mujuru said.

Commenting on alleged divisions in ZPF at the weekend by State media, Gumbo said this just manifested how jittery Zanu PF was, about the party — adding that Zanu PF “must brace for the fight of its life”.

“We are aware of the divide and rule tactics that they want to employ but we are united. They (Zanu PF) have come up with several strategies to try and destroy our party, and they are welcome because we know them and we are ready to deal with them,” Gumbo said.

He also confirmed that Mujuru had in the past few weeks been meeting with many Zanu PF officials, including MPs (names supplied but withheld on request), who all intended to join ZPF.

If these MPs do follow through on their promises and threats, this would set the cat among the pigeons in the ruling party, which is reeling from its deadly factional and succession wars.

Among the prominent Zanu PF personalities who recently ditched the ruling party to join ZPF are former deputy Information minister Bright Matonga — who is said to be working closely with former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats president, Margaret Dongo, to mobilise support for the new party in Mashonaland West.

The Daily News first revealed exclusively the plans by dozens of Zanu PF legislators to ditch the party and join Mujuru and ZPF late last year. The newspaper reported then that the panicky ruling party was, as a result, making frantic preparations for yet more Parliamentary by-elections.

Insiders also claimed at the time that it was “panic stations” among ruling party bigwigs who understood the fact that People First “is a reality and a major threat” to Zanu PF’s fortunes ahead of the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections which are a mere 18 months away.

“Provinces, particularly Mashonaland East, have been instructed to prepare for tough by-elections for the MPs who want to ditch us,” one of the sources said.

Suspended Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Joel Biggie Matiza, also confirmed to the Daily News then, that party supporters were suspicious about the motives and machinations of some of their comrades and were no longer willing to continue working with those said to be planning to join Mujuru.

“That is the exact reason why we recommended that some of these people be expelled because we realised they are no longer with us as they are now working with the opposition. We are only waiting to hear from the politburo concerning their fate,” Matiza said.

Comments (19)

Basically , this really shows people have been waiting for too long to get the rightful leaders. The coming in of Amai Dr. Mujuru has given people hope about the removal of ZANU PF from power. After 36 years of destruction who in his normal senses would want to continue putting his vote on the wrong people. Kana zvakona people have the right to look for change. For the time being we do not care who brings the change. Lets have the common interest of have democracy, transparency and accountability. Once these are back in the country every thing will take shape.

Chihwemukudu - 10 March 2016

Vava ma"rightful leaders" netaurisa kwavava kuita nekuti vadzingwa muZANU? Margaret Dongo ndiye woga watinoziva akabuda kare muZANU achitaura chokwadi. ZveZimbabwe zvinotosekesa. And we continue recycling the same dead wood rebranding itself as ZPF. An hour's interview on SAfm will not white wash the 34 years damage Joyce Mujuru and her Zanu PF cronies did. Ndivo the same people vatisvitsa patiri ava. Eventually ZANU PF en masse will cross the floor to join ZPF. Munopatii ipapo? Tisanyengerwe. Zimbabwe politics needs new blood period. "To change with change is a changeless state"

Shoko Ndirori - 10 March 2016

KKKKKK yaa gamatox were waiting for that while the rest of all sane zimbabweans do not have any hope from someone who for 34 years worked hard to destroy this country . We have leaders already who stood with us during the darkest days when this Mujuru was even calling those leaders western puppets so only fools of course will be fooled by her . Who is sponsoring her tours and her rallies is she using the money she looted while in govt bcoz she can not tell us that card carrying members are doing that as they do not exist serving for few political prostitutes .

Diibulaanyika - 10 March 2016

As a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, I was embarrassed beyond measurement by Mai Mujuru's performance during her interview on SAfm. We have become a butt of jokes from our neighbhours who cannot believe we have such people as our leaders. Mai Mujuru could not express herself and failed to answer basic questions. The only reason she formed her party was sour grapes after being expelled from ZANU PF. She sounds more like a crèche teacher than a leader of a serious political party.

Ngangirosi - 10 March 2016

As a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, I was embarrassed beyond measurement by Mai Mujuru's performance during her interview on SAfm. We have become a butt of jokes from our neighbhours who cannot believe we have such people as our leaders. Mai Mujuru could not express herself and failed to answer basic questions. The only reason she formed her party was sour grapes after being expelled from ZANU PF. She sounds more like a crèche teacher than a leader of a serious political party. http://www.safm.co.za/sabc/home/safm/features/details?id=a36411cd-c9e9-4a21-9250-b21cf99821ca&title=Dr%20Joice%20Mujuru%20on%20politics%20of%20Zimbabwe

Ngangirosi - 10 March 2016

Daily news you are our best paper just give us a beak on Mujuru now we hear of our president joining THE MACH for Itayi from some news papers while you are busy following Mujuru . hayi mani leave this house wife alone mani we are tired .MDC is the biggest political party you can not tell us if they is no news happening in this party .hayibo .

Diibulaanyika - 10 March 2016

the reason why Zimbabwe is this situation is because an average Zimbabwean doesn't want the truth. below are some of the truths that people routinely circumvent: 1. rwavhi gukurahundi Mugabe committed genocide in Zimbabwe mainly the gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s. this is the reason why he doesn't want to vacate the throne because he knows that he will be arrested. this has nothing to do with his marriage to grace is this come well after he had committed the crimes. 2. grace is a useless slut who left her marriage to get married to rwavhi because of pecuniary gains. 3. joice mujuru was the main driver of corruption in zanu with her late hubby rex. she owns a number of farms, mine and buildings around the country. she has no positive contribution to make to the country given her horrendous performance in govt for the past 35 years. she is a liar who wants us to believe that she always had differences with Mugabe yet she begged him to stay on the eve of her official cashiering. the fact that on top of her priorities is the chasing of solo's killers shows that she is in it for her own benefit and not for national benefit. tsvangirayi lost his wife in dodgy circumstances but never has he said that he wants to avenge that. also, joice consistently said that she has no ambition to become president now she is lying that people requested her to be president. the day we learnt to accept and tell the truth, our country and ourselves shall be liberated!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 10 March 2016

If she is sencere in opposition Politics she should have joined established politicians like Morgan and mapmthe forward together. Forming her party shows that she is sentimental to her dismissal from Zanu'sour grapes' and she is power hungry to lead her project. She was a deputy for more than 10 years she never went against Mugabe meaning she confirmed on all policies. If she had been fired for standing against Posa,Intra party violence,economic meltdown then we could say bravo but she never said anything during her tenure as per Grace's charge sheet...she was a lame duck.It leaves us with the impression that she is a Zanu pf project.This war vet thing is the condition for a straightjacket presidency as per the army point of view. Tsvangirai the tag for official opposition leader is gone and strategist in Zanu will sing all the way to the bank.

View from the gazebo - 10 March 2016

Joining the other side of the same coin!!!!

Mukanya - 10 March 2016

zanu pf will rule till the last born of the current war veterans die l tell, whether you like it or not, there is one ruling party and it shall remain one in 2018, 2023 again because of the opposition parties who cant stand to be guided by those who were involved in the struggle.

kb - 10 March 2016

Viva real Dr Amai (Joice Mujuru).

Titus - 10 March 2016

True what Ngangirisi said, this lady is a sitting lame duck like Mnangagwa. Even Julius Malema is more articulate that mai Mujuru. One wonders if she can really stand up to challenge her former boss. If she is given her job back she will definitely abandon ship and go back to ZANU PF. I still think and believe that she is part of a bigger plan to split the opposition vote. Give her a bucket full of diamonds and invite her back to ZANU PF...she will extend her hand and SMILE. In other words she is not serious. If she is then she must take ZANU PF head-on even if it means fighting in the trenches not shouting from the comfort of a 5 star hotel built by white imperialists!!! VIVA MDC-T. Don't take this ZPF serious.

gamuchirayi - 11 March 2016

PAMBERI nePEOPLE FIRST. Those who think people first is a joke go to the grassroots and face reality. ZANU yarohwa nezveusiku. From Zambezi to Limpopo vanhu vari kungotaura nezve ZPF. Yandengendetsa. Ask those in CHIMANIMANI yangove PEOPLE FIRST PESE PESE. KUZVINYARADZA KUTI PEOPLE FIRST IRI DIVIDED.

robert - 11 March 2016

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