HARARE – It has now been confirmed that former Vice President Joice Mujuru and other liberation struggle stalwarts who were brutally purged from the post-congress Zanu PF will not be returning to President Robert Mugabe’s warring ruling party.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, former Masvingo minister of State, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti — who is one of three bigwigs who now speak officially for the “original” Zanu PF formation that uses the slogan People First — said Mujuru would not be lured back to the crisis-torn post-congress Zanu PF.
He said this was primarily so as the ruling party had been turned into Mugabe’s private property and was inflicting “untold misery” on Zimbabweans.
Making it clear that he had the authority to speak on behalf of Mujuru, who was ruthlessly kicked out of the post-congress Zanu PF formation last year — over murky allegations of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe — Bhasikiti said it had been agreed, after a meeting with the former VP, that he, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and liberation struggle stalwart Rugare Gumbo would speak on behalf of the People First movement.
He said emphatically, that none of the people linked to Mujuru, who were referred to as Gamatox, would “ever join the privatised post-congress Zanu PF”.
Mujuru, Mutasa and other former liberation struggle stalwarts have since apologised to the nation for having been part of “the brutal system that has misruled this nation” — amid indications that even opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is warming up to the group.
“Gamatox will never be Zanu PF again. The post-congress Zanu PF translated itself into a private company which is now owned and privatised by a single family. We cannot be part of someone’s company.
“We are in the stages of forming a people party, and we will launch it to the people soon. The nation has been waiting for that party and the movement will be led by none other than Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru,” a buoyant Bhasikiti said.
His assertions yesterday come amid claims that Mugabe no longer believed that Mujuru and other casualties of the brutal purges that occurred ahead of and after Zanu PF’s sham congress last year had plotted to oust and assassinate him.
There has also been rising talk over the past few weeks that some post-congress Zanu PF bigwigs were actively working to lure her back to the warring party.
“There are only three people who can authoritatively speak on behalf of Mai Mujuru and that is myself, Comrade Rugare Gumbo and Comrade Mutasa.
“For her and for those who would want her to say something now, we say she will not speak and she will only speak on the day of the launch. We don’t have a leader of the party who can just be saying anything, anywhere and anyhow. It’s a people’s party. The people will be speaking.
“The leader will launch it and those who are dreaming of Gamatox going back to Zanu PF may as well know that they are doing just that — day dreaming,” Bhasikiti said.
Mutasa and Gumbo have also indicated previously, but not as authoritatively, that Mujuru would never rejoin Zanu PF, amid rising suggestions that the People First movement, which includes many senior officials who are still ensconced in the ruling party, will be launched next month.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News last week, Mutasa dismissed claims that Mujuru was undecided about her political future, as well as “the loose talk” that she would rejoin Zanu PF if she got the chance.
“There is no question about her, we recently met her and endorsed her as our leader, for quite a number of reasons. All of us in People First must apologise not only to the people we have misruled but to the entire world.
“You don’t run a government like we did up to 2014. I mean, you break your own constitution into pieces, good heavens. We can’t repeat that. Mai Mujuru would never do that. Wait until September and you will see,” Mutasa said.
Responding yesterday to fears that the People’s First movement would suffer a stillbirth amid claims that it had been infiltrated by intelligence agents, Bhasikti said this was unfounded as the movement had “covered much ground”, to the extent that it was only a matter of time before it took the post-congress Zanu PF head-on.
“We are going to be recruiting, and we will be free to receive those who come out from that private company, the post congress Zanu PF, which is a private property of its leader.
“All people are free to come to People First and be led by an elected president. Vice President Mujuru was elected by the entire 10 provinces of this country, so she still receives that support,” he said.
Hinting that an alliance with the MDC formations was being mooted, Bhasikiti said People First was prepared to work with all political parties that were keen on “dismantling the misrule of Zanu PF”.
“We are cognisant of the fact that there are those leading other formations and are willing to work with us. We don’t look at any other political grouping as an enemy, but we consider them core workers of Zimbabwe’s development,” he said.
Asked if he gets regular briefings from Mujuru, Bhasikiti said, “Obviously, you cannot speak on behalf of someone when you are not in touch with them. I know what she stands for and what she says”.