HARARE – Former vice president and now leader of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), Joice Mujuru, is finally hitting the campaign trail ahead of the much-anticipated 2018 national elections — beginning with a star rally scheduled for Stanley Square in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Her buoyant spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, told the Daily News yesterday that the popular widow of the revered late liberation struggle icon, General Solomon Mujuru, had now completed putting together a comprehensive and countrywide political programme, as she bids to become Zimbabwe’s first female leader by removing President Robert Mugabe from power in two years’ time.
He said the programme included “the mother of the nation” meeting her supporters around the country and “offering practical solutions to the myriad economic challenges that Zimbabwe is facing”.
“The mother of the nation will make her maiden appearance before the nation as leader of ZPF on Saturday where she will address supporters at Stanley Square in Bulawayo.
“It’s at that venue that Zimbabweans will get solutions from the future president of the country to all the issues relating to their suffering, including the cash crisis, shortage of medicines in hospitals and the unacceptably high unemployment rate among many other pressing issues,” Nyandoro said.
By moving to officially launch her campaign, Mujuru has now snuffed discordant voices within her fledgling party, as well as snide remarks by her political competitors that ZPF had suffered a stillbirth because she was reluctant to take Mugabe head-on for a number of reasons — including a supposed fear of being arrested on untested allegations of corruption, that was allegedly committed while she was in government.
Mujuru was hounded out of Zanu PF and the government in December 2014 on dubious charges of plotting to oust from power and assassinate Mugabe.
She had appeared to give grist to rumours that she had no appetite to tangle with Mugabe by going into hibernation soon after launching ZPF early this year — and also failing to conduct a single public meeting since then.
But Nyandoro retorted yesterday that the allegations that she had developed cold feet were being peddled by Mugabe and Zanu PF party as an act of self-preservation by the ruling party.
“Let me state quite categorically that such Machiavellian political tactics will not work, because Mujuru is absolutely determined to rescue long-suffering Zimbabweans from Zanu PF”.
“From Bulawayo, the president (Mujuru) will address a rally in Harare before she heads to Masvingo and Manicaland, and then the rest of the length and breadth of the country, laying out her vision and giving policy direction on how ZPF, the only solution there is in the country, will extricate Zimbabweans from the Zanu PF-induced suffering.
“We know that Zanu PF has devised a strategy to infiltrate us and derail our progress to make sure that the party does not see the light of day but they have since failed because we are on a roll.
“The party is much stronger and intact than ever before now, and we are expecting tens of thousands of supporters to throng Stanley Square.
“We also invite all supporters of the opposition party in waiting, Zanu PF, who face an uncertain future because of the ugly succession fights in the party to come and hear the future president speaking,” Nyandoro said.
He also moved to dispel recent media reports that there was growing disharmony in ZPF and that some of her supporters who had come from Zanu PF were ditching her for the former liberation movement.
“If you are talking about reports that there is one of our members by the name Jim Kunaka, who has supposedly left us, then to be honest with you, I am shocked because when I checked with our data base we don’t have anyone with such a name.
“Maybe it could be that Kunaka, who led the notorious Chipangano in Zanu PF, may have tried to join ZPF only to realise that the party was not for those whose hands were dripping with blood, and then left before being given a membership card.
“Concerning reports that the party was sidelining its elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, again that is unfounded because you have never heard them complaining about that.
“We value our elders so much for their wisdom and they are the ones who give the party inspiration,” Nyandoro said.
By firmly signalling her desire to compete for the leadership of the country in 2018, Mujuru is now set to do battle with Mugabe, who is Zanu PF’s presidential candidate, as well as indefatigable opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in those much-awaited polls.
But how things will eventually pan out then is hard to tell at this point, given the growing calls for her and Tsvangirai to join hands and take on Mugabe and Zanu PF together.
When Mujuru was previously asked if she would consider working with Tsvangirai, she indicated then that she was more than willing to do so — a sentiment that is shared by the MDC president.
This possibility has caused visible anxiety within Zanu PF which is ravaged by its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars that have seen embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa come under increasing pressure — amid ruling party fears that the grand coalition could spell doom for Mugabe and his minions.