HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) is open to the idea of working together with disaffected supporters of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, if this will help dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in the 2018 national elections.
ZPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News yesterday that their party was inviting all Zimbabweans, including those still in Zanu PF who genuinely believed that the ruling party was now a lost cause, to join hands with Mujuru and confront the country’s “dictatorship” for the good of all.
Gumbo was speaking in the wake of Tuesday’s hard-hitting pronouncements by prominent war veteran and one of Mnangagwa’s most loyal supporters, Victor Matemadanda, who said bluntly that Mujuru’s ruthless purge from Zanu PF in late 2014 had been “a grave mistake”.
Gumbo warmly welcomed this growing realisation by many war veterans that Zanu PF had become a “predatory piranha party”, further calling on “all those other comrades who have realised that Zanu PF is no more” to work with ZPF to get rid of “this totalitarian regime”.
He also said Matemadanda’s “accurate observations” vindicated what he and other former Zanu PF bigwigs, who were booted out of the former liberation movement, had been saying all along that Mugabe was now running the party and the country on the basis of rumours and lies.
“We have been fully vindicated. Those who were at the forefront of pushing us out (of Zanu PF) are the ones admitting that they were wrong.
“We are now inviting all in Zanu PF who genuinely believe that the party has lost the way and that we need to confront this dictatorship for the good of the nation to join hands with us. We welcome all democratic forces to this noble endeavour,” Gumbo said.
He commended Matemadanda and other war veterans, saying their open admission of their mistakes was “what is expected of human beings”.
“We welcome that and urge all democratic forces with whom we share the same values and aspirations to put their hands up and join us. The fact is, Zimbabweans need to work hard to restore confidence in the country,” Gumbo said.
Mujuru’s olive branch to her erstwhile Zanu PF comrades is being extended at a time when she is also mulling reaching an electoral pact with other opposition parties, including former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.
Analysts say should the mooted grand coalition of opposition parties materialise, Mugabe’s 36 years in power would almost certainly come to a screeching halt in 2018.
To make matters worse for the increasingly-frail nonagenarian and Zanu PF, Mnangagwa’s allies are ramping up their assault on him, claiming that he is being held hostage by the ruling party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the G40 — who are rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding Mugabe.
The Daily News — which has consistently and accurately reported on Zanu PF’s ugly goings-on over the past five years — carried a story yesterday which said, as the ruling party’s deadly infighting was getting more intractable by the day, miffed war veterans were becoming increasingly critical of Mugabe.
Matemadanda told the country’s leading daily newspaper that Mujuru’s ruthless purge from Zanu PF in 2014 had been “a grave mistake” which had opened the door for “opportunists, cultists and rumour-mongers” to lie and manipulate their way in the warring former liberation movement — to the extent that today the party and its leaders “do not know where they are coming from or going”.
“All of us in Zanu PF then reacted to what those people were saying about Mujuru. There were a lot of allegations against Mujuru and because it was coming from high offices, we believed the allegations.
“But we now see these people for who they truly are,” Matemadanda said.
He added that it was not just Mujuru who had been “hard done” by the party when she was hounded out of Zanu PF on untested allegations of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe, but also all her supporters as well who had similarly been kicked out of the party.
“This is why every person who worked with Mujuru is now being approached and asked to return. They (opportunists) have not proved the allegations, yet they want the people back in the party, and it makes us wonder.
“These (opportunists) are the same people who suspended (former senior Cabinet minister and politburo heavyweight) Nicholas Goche, but all of a sudden now want to work with him.
“They must apologise to the nation for soiling all these people’s names. And because of all this, one can conclude that all is not well in the party,” the aggrieved Matemadanda said, adding that it was clear that Mugabe and his wife Grace were being misled by these opportunists.
“It is now up to the First Family to disassociate themselves from these malicious behaviours. Zimbabwe is being run based on rumour mongers,” he thundered.
Matemadanda said the fact that former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda had been approached to become minister responsible for the former freedom fighters’ welfare, before he had been exonerated on the untested charges that his Zanu PF enemies had brought against him, showed that their allegations were baseless in the first place.
“They may think that they have fired us (from Zanu PF, and as leaders of war veterans), but they don’t have the capacity. No one holds the title deeds of the party. We didn’t go to war to follow anyone. We went to war to free Zimbabwe, we won the freedom and now must enjoy the fruits,” he said.
Matemadanda said people such as former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and others who had been expelled from Zanu PF “are still part of the party, no matter how much other people will want to wish them away”.
“What is important is not to be in the politburo, but to be in the revolution. People who freed this country had no positions. We are above factions as war veterans. We didn’t fight for a particular individual and we don’t want to build dictators or cultists.
“We know one day (president) Mugabe is going to go and we don’t want a cult leader to take over.
“We want a simple thinking comrade to takeover. This business of making other people cults is what makes other people think that this country belongs to them,” he charged.
Matemadanda had also previously roundly slated the Zanu PF politburo at a meeting in Bulawayo — saying the party’s top decision-making structure outside congress had become a “disciplinary politburo”, while Zanu PF itself was now a “party for firing not hiring”.