OPPOSITION Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader and former vice-president, Joice Mujuru has set the campaign ball rolling as she braces for a bruising electoral fight against her ex-mentor President Robert Mugabe.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/RICHARD CHIDZA
Mujuru is reportedly at the fore, leading her party into a formidable opposition ahead of the 2018 elections, with a number of programmes lined up to strengthen the party for the next general elections.
This comes amid allegations that there was growing discontent among members, who felt their leadership was not doing enough to set up a strong and competitive opposition.
But impeccable sources told The Standard that Mujuru would soon plunge headlong into Zimbabwe’s political minefield, with two rallies planned for Bulawayo and Harare “very soon”.
“The president [Mujuru] is set to address rallies in Bulawayo and Harare soon to formally introduce the party to Zimbabweans ahead of the congress in October. There will be other rallies in between but these are the flagship events that could define ZimPF’s future,” The Standard heard.
Party spokesperson and liberation war luminary Rugare Gumbo would neither deny nor confirm the development.
“We have a lot going as a new party and cannot at the moment say much, suffice to say we will make proper announcements to Zimbabweans when the right time comes. We are working on mobilisation and recruitment, creating co-ordinating committees at various levels of our structures,” Gumbo said, adding Mujuru was heavily involved in the processes currently underway.
ZimPF Harare spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire said Mujuru had instructed the mobilisation team to put in place five teams that were covering all provinces to do an audit of the party’s structures.
“The teams have the mandate to look at whether the structures are inclusive, whether they reflect gender equality and to see if they reflect the issue of youth representation,” Mawarire said.
“We want to ensure the structures reflect the inclusivity doctrine that we are pushing as a political party. This should reflect we are an organisation comprised of people with different backgrounds such as Zanu PF, MDC-T, other MDCs, MKD and other political parties, as well as people who were previously not into politics.”
He said there were several programmes going ahead in the party as it worked to mobilise the electorate and explaining their economic blueprint, Build.
Mawarire said Mujuru had been meeting different social groups from within the country, particularly representatives of NGOs, churches and different professional backgrounds such as lawyers and accountants and many others to understand the day to day socio-economic realities experienced by them.
“The key issue at this stage is voter mobilisation and recruitment so that the electorate understands the party policy especially programmes that we will proffer so that when we say we are a government in waiting people will understand what we are offering,” he said.
Mawarire said they were finalising their party constitution and getting feedback from the electorate concerning their economic blueprint.
He said critical input from different sectors was being consolidated to enrich the policy.
“We are reviewing BUILD based on the input that we have been receiving from different sectors. We sent out the blueprint so that we provoke debate and we are getting feedback to enrich the document,” he said.
Mawarire said their programmes and meetings were oversubscribed and they had what it took to win the next elections.
ZimPF was allegedly rocked by chaotic scenes two weeks ago characterised by an impromptu demonstration at Mujuru’s residence during an interim executive meeting after a reported public spat between senior leaders pitting Gumbo and former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa on one hand and former Zanu PF Mbire lawmaker David Butau on the other.
Mujuru reportedly convened an emergency meeting to deal with the issue.
Gumbo has insisted that there was nothing wrong with “contradictions in a big party like ZimPF”.
“We are a big organisation and people have different opinions every day. The important thing is how we deal with these contradictions as a democratic movement. We will deal with these issues in the best way possible,” he said.
Insiders said Mujuru was likely to meet the party’s leaders at different levels to audit structures.
“We have finished setting up structures at section, ward, constituency and provincial level. We have also been advised that membership cards are almost ready for distribution,” a close source said.