Alleged coup mastermind and former army captain Alfred Matapo has launched a new political party — United Crusade for Achieving Democracy (Ucad) — and insists that Zanu PF’s days in government are numbered.
BY OUR STAFF
Matapo spent seven years at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after he was charged with treason and attempted jail break.
He was accused of plotting a coup to overthrow President Robert Mugabe but the treason charge collapsed before he served a three-year term after being convicted in 2012 of trying to escape from lawful custody two years earlier.
Matapo maintains innocence, saying he was arrested by police detectives in 2007 together with his Ucad cadres while they were preparing to launch their party.
Following his release from prison on May 1 this year, Matapo has resumed his political ambitions, formally launching the party on August 1.
His co-accused in the treason charge were released in 2011 and have all gone into exile. They include his Australian-based son Garirai Mazivofa who is Ucad’s secretary for youth.
Others are vice-president Nyasha Zivuku, secretary for security and defence Emmanuel Marara whose deputy was Shingirai Webster Mutemachani, education secretary Partson Mupfure and Partson Mudzurahona who is responsible for technology.
Matapo said his party will not wait for the 2018 elections but will lobby for the two thirds parliamentary majority to push out the current government and pave way for fresh polls.
Unbelievable as it may sound, the ex-soldier is confident he will succeed.
“The good thing is we know exactly how Nikuv was used to rig last year’s elections. We know that people never voted for Zanu PF. We are going to each of the 210 parliamentary constituencies and convince people to sign petitions that will force their respective member of parliament [MPs] to pass a vote of no confidence against the current government.
“A two thirds majority in the passing of the vote of no confidence will open way for elections. We cannot wait for 2018 because if the current situation persists, Zimbabwe would be charred remains due to Zanu PF’s misrule.”
Matapo believes Ucad will win the elections because people have lost hope in the MDCs. Being the ambitious man he is, Matapo wants a complete overhaul of Zimbabwe and sees a new country beyond 30 years’ time. He dreams of a new Zimbabwe with five states, Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central which would host a new capital city whose name would be suggested by “crusaders,” a name referred to followers of Ucad.
The central state, said Matapo, would cover areas like Mhondoro, Kwekwe, Gweru, Kadoma and Chiwundura. He said Harare was now overpopulated and was badly designed.
“We want the new capital city to be near Manhize Mountains and would be served with water from Mamina dam,” said Matapo. “It shall be a huge modern city with carriageways that directly lead to all the country’s borders. The motorways will have 10 lanes each. “Here we are talking about a city better than New York or London with underground tube trains.
“We will not borrow and will have investors help us service the country’s debts while education should improve with graduates able to start their own businesses.”
He said his government will resettle and compensate displaced people who would be living in the way of the carriageways. A build-operate-transfer (BOT) project financing model would be adopted to make possible the construction of the new capital city and all infrastructure.
Private entities would be given tenders to build public properties which they would operate and maintain between 15 to 20 years before handing them back to the government. Matapo said it would take 10 years to build the new city.
“We will call for a referendum in awarding tenders. For the BOT model to successfully work, we will invite the Bill Gates of this world to invest in the country. There are many people and entities with money outside there and it is a workable proposition,” Matapo said.
“There will be modern villages in these states and the investor will own homes in these villages where they will live with locals. We want villages that have tarred roads, electricity and running water.
“People should use cars when travelling to their fields. Every rural home must have paddocks so that, for example, an old lady who stays alone will not have trouble in rearing her livestock. We will not allow multiple-ownership of farms and also not distribute land on partisan grounds.”
He wants leadership to rotate among the five states and a four-year term for each President. Those who committed political atrocities would be prosecuted, he said.
After a tormenting period in prison, the incarceration appears to have ploughed more political determination inside Matapo.
“Even if am offered the whole of Chiadzwa diamond fields, I will not join Zanu PF. If you want to know politics, go to prison. Am not saying it is good to break the law and be jailed but prison teaches one the best politics. You become a seasoned politician because you will be surrounded by 2 500 people from all corners of the country,” he said.
“During my incarceration, nothing happened outside without passing through my ears, even before they started allowing newspapers inside the prison. Some people in jail are former workers or neighbours of top politicians. It is difficult to find information from someone outside than inside jail. I also used to teach fellow prisoners politics.”