HARARE – Zanu PF has apparently ratcheted up its “political programme” to frustrate and cause the implosion of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s fledgling Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party.
Reliable sources within the ruling party claimed to the Daily News that chaotic scenes around an alleged leadership contest, the many recent acts of intimidation and thuggery targeted at ZPF supporters as well as officials were all “well-orchestrated”.
“I can tell you that before 2018 People First will be history. Many of the people in that party have skeletons in their closets and just watch this space to see what will happen to them,” one of the sources said.
Another insider said the current Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) drive was also meant to “rattle” some ZPF officials since they were once in government and several key parastatals.
“As you may know, Mujuru herself has a file hanging over her head, detailing her transgressions. There is gnashing of teeth in that little party,” the Zanu PF bigwig said.
This latter claim tallied with what Mujuru herself said soon after launching her party in February, when she alleged that Mugabe had a file on each of his ministers, which kept them on a string like “puppets”.
And as the charade unfolds, ZPF deputy spokesperson Kudzai Mbudzi confirmed that senior officials were under the gun.
“That is lamentable because we think that corruption should be dealt with not as a tool to fix political opponents. Zimbabweans think that if there is really the political will to genuinely deal with the scourge of corruption, the blitz should star with (President Robert) Mugabe himself who should justify his current economic might that has seen him establish the businesses he owns,” he said.
The ex-senior army officer also admitted that Zanu PF, through State security agents, had infiltrated ZPF.
“We know that Zanu PF has no capacity to infiltrate us on its own but . . . are doing so through the security system. Members of the security sector must be warned, however, that the man they are protecting is in the political departure lounge and they will have to answer for their crimes come 2018,” Mbudzi warned.
Academic and researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya said both the Movement for Democratic Change and ZPF must be wary of infiltration.
He said the two parties must realise that a “broad coalition of meaningful political parties is the way to go”, but warned that such a structure without addressing institutional reforms cannot defeat Zanu PF.
“They (MDC and ZPF) must also do their research because they will be elements, particularly in MDC and People First, who will work day and night to make sure that MDC and PF and the general meaningful parties are not united. It is not in the interests of Zanu PF for such a coalition,” he said.
“They will be people who will be vehement and virulent in opposing a coalition because they will be doing it for Zanu PF and there are some who are doing it for positions within those parties. Zanu PF will invest through the State security to kill prospects of unity between the MDC and PF,” Ruhanya said.
Meanwhile, Mbudzi claims their supporters have become a target of renewed violence in rural areas allegedly at the behest of Zanu PF activists and traditional leaders.
The former serviceman also said members of the security forces had been deployed “to disrupt and intimidate our people”.
“Only recently, a known CIO operative hired a truckload of drunken youths to disrupt our meeting in Masvingo and . . . throughout the country, and it’s lamentable (really). They should know that they have no mandate to meddle in politics of our party because it (is) clear . . . Mugabe is going in 2018, and protecting him is futile,” Mbudzi added.
On the other hand, several party activists who spoke to the Daily News yesterday claimed Zanu PF was working with some ZPF senior members to “sow seeds of disharmony” within the opposition party ranks by maligning its founders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.