BULAWAYO – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday called on opposition leaders to bury their differences and form a grand coalition to end President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s 36 years in power.
Speaking at her first public rally that was attended by thousands of people at Bulawayo’s Stanley Square yesterday, Mujuru said opposition leaders were wasting their time bickering while the country was on fire.
“As opposition parties we should maximise on our similarities with other democratic forces … and we are trying to find out why we are failing to agree as opposition. Why are we wasting time as leaders arguing when the masses are suffering?
“We have since realised that as we keep on fighting, our problems are getting worse,” she said.
Mujuru said once in power, her party would not focus on targeted sanctions because they were not largely to blame for the mess the country finds itself in.
“We are not only looking at sanctions as having destroyed the economy, our actions are killing the economy more than the sanctions. We are good at pointing at others for fault, yet not pointing at ourselves.
“Zimbabwe’s problems cannot be solved by borrowing, but the revival of industries and this can only happen if we talk to those we are fighting with (the West),” she said.
She deplored the poverty levels in the country saying, “It is not only about rural poverty but urban poverty. I am disturbed by the horror stories I hear about our children going to work in overseas countries.
“And we hear of people fighting, but the youths will not do that if we have jobs for them”.
Mujuru said she was also disturbed by the Gukurahundi massacres, an issue which she said was one of the major reasons she had decided to have her party’s first rally in Bulawayo.
The widow of the late liberation struggle icon, General Solomon Mujuru, said Zimbabwe was still reeling from the effects of that massacre and her party would ensure that the matter was comprehensively dealt with.
“We have agreed as a party that we have traumas that the country has gone through pre- and post-independence.
“Our duty at the moment … is to identify those traumas one by one and shelve them for the good times, because these are traumas that have made our people live far apart from each other.
“Our country is struggling to deal with the problems that arose as a result of the disturbances that we had before independence and after,” she said.
She added: “We want to ensure that we bring unity among Zimbabweans. Right now we have many adults who have no national identity cards due to the post-independence disturbances. This is part of what has made us come to Bulawayo for this rally”.
Mujuru also said there had been a lot of misconceptions pertaining to her relationship with the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, arising from an alleged dispute she had had with him over the licensing of mobile telecommunications giant Econet Wireless.
“Most people are asking why Mai Mujuru chose Bulawayo … a lot of political exchange, a lot of politicking about Mai Mujuru denigrating Father Zimbabwe. That is why I have taken a little bit of time to explain who I am.
“To me, Father Zimbabwe was my father … That’s why I had not decided to talk about it and for a long time you have been misled and I want to say sorry for that,” she said.
“We have a problem of other people looking down upon certain tribes and regions and this is why I did a deliberate introduction of myself,” she said, after giving a brief background of her multi-ethnic family.
She repeatedly said she was against the notion that sanctions were behind the fall of the economy as the nation had been made to believe by Zanu PF, singling out corruption as one of the cancers that needed urgent attention.
Margaret Dongo, Sylvester Nguni, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Colenel Kudzai Mbudzi were among senior ZPF members who graced the rally.
However, Rugare Gumbo, Dydimus Mutasa and Jabulani Sibanda were conspicuous by their absence, leaving many people to speculate on their relationship with the new political outfit.
Also present at the rally was People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secretary general Gorden Moyo.