Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to Face Challenge From Former Deputy Joice Mujuru

President to be challenged by woman who served as his No 2 for a decade until he fired her in 2014
 Joice Mujuru launches her new party in Harare.

Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s former vice-president, launched a new party on Tuesday to challenge Robert Mugabe, promising to revive the economy and repair strained relations with the west.

Mugabe, 92, has been president since 1987. Mujuru, 60, was his deputy for a decade, and was seen as his likely successor until he fired her in 2014, accusing her of leading a plot to oust him.

In her first public address since then, she said the new Zimbabwe People First party would bring jobs and review the ruling Zanu-PF party’s divisive black economic empowerment laws, which critics say have scared off investors.

She said she was open to alliances with other opposition groups before the 2018 presidential elections.

“Today we confirm our existence as a viable, inclusive homegrown political party,” Mujuru, she said to cheers from supporters on Tuesday. “We are not fighting one man but a system, that system which is unjust.”

Zanu-PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, described Mujuru’s party as a “gathering of losers”.

Zimbabwe is struggling to emerge from a deep recession that shrank its economy by nearly half during the decade to 2008.

Zimbabwe's Joice Mujuru Forms ZPF to Oppose ZANU-PF

BBC World Service

Zimbabwe's Joyce Mujuru gestured while addressing supporters in Harare, March 1, 2016

A powerful former ally of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has launched a party to challenge his 35-year rule.

Joice Mujuru said the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party had been formed because "Zimbabwe is a broken country".

Ms Mujuru was Mr Mugabe's second-in-command until he sacked her in 2014 after accusing her of plotting to oust and kill him.

"I'm neither a witch nor an assassin," Ms Mujuru said, at the party's launch in the capital, Harare.

She is the most senior former Zanu-PF leader to form an opposition party, and is tipped to be its presidential candidate in the 2018 election.
Ms Mujuru was once seen as Mr Mugabe's heir apparent in Zanu-PF
Was married to Solomon Mujuru, who was seen as Zanu-PF kingmaker
He died in suspicious fire in 2011
She was known as "Spill Blood" during the independence war
She claims to have shot down a Rhodesian helicopter with the machine-gun of a dying comrade and was later promoted to commander
After spending her youth fighting the war, she obtained secondary school qualifications and a degree while in government
First woman to become Zimbabwe's vice-president in 2004
Sacked from that position in 2014 and expelled from Zanu-PF in 2015
Forms Zimbabwe People First party in 2016
Family has vast business interests.
Ms Mujuru, 60, was flanked by other former Zanu-PF heavyweights, including Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.

She hailed the formation of ZPF as historic, and said it would fight the "scourge of corruption" in Zimbabwe.

"Some revolutionaries are busy pulling Zimbabwe down," Ms Mujuru said.

Our correspondent says she was a Zanu-PF member for more than 30 years, and will it find difficult to convince voters that she represents a new era.

But, encouragingly for Ms Mujuru, her supporters turned up at the launch to give their backing, she adds.

Zanu-PF has nominated Mr Mugabe, who turned 92 last month, for re-election in 2018.

However, because of his advancing age, a battle to succeed him is raging in Zanu-PF between Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was appointed to the post following Ms Mujuru's expulsion, correspondents say.

Mrs Mugabe led the campaign to oust Ms Mujuru, who was seen to harbour ambitions to succeed Mr Mugabe as Zanu-PF leader and president.

Analysis: Lewis Machipisa, BBC Africa

Ms Mujuru will take some support from Zanu-PF, but is unlikely to come remotely close to dislodging it from power.

Zanu-PF is a formidable force, with control over all state institutions.

It will not be surprising if law-enforcement agencies now investigate her over the business empire she and her late husband built following Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. They will want to know if she was involved in corruption or if her wealth is clean.

Her decision to form the ZPF party will not give the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, sleepless nights. His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters see her as Mr Mugabe's jilted lover, and are unlikely to join her party.

She will struggle to establish a well-oiled party machinery, and is unlikely to receive financial support from Western donors because of her long relationship with Zanu-PF.

I am ready to fight Zanu PF –Joice Mujuru

March 1, 2016

People First president, Joice Mujuru has today declared she was ready to fight an unjust system.

By John Mokwetsi, Online editor

Speaking at her first press conference since her ouster from government and Zanu PF last year, the former Vice President, who was flanked by Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo said: “I was once a part of Zanu PF, but our new party People First is completely a new entity with new values and followers. Our desire is to transform and build.”

Mujuru added that she has been reading a lot about an opposition coalition, but insisted she was yet to meet MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

She said PF was ready to work with anyone who shared a similar vision with them and would engage any country even those perceived to be hostile to Zimbabwe without putting to the alter the country’s values.

She said PF has people-centred power, and that although she has only known one political party since joining the liberation struggle, she would never return to Zanu PF.

The presser was attended by former Manicaland Zanu PF provincial chairman John Shumba Mvundura, ex-deputy information minister Bright Matonga, former MDC-T Harare councillor Friday Mleya, ex-minister Sylvester Nguni, former Masvingo provincial minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Colonel Claudius Makova.

Mujuru later addressed scores of supporters outside the hotel who braved the rains and reiterated that she was ready to fight the unjust system under the values of PF.

She urged her supporters to work hard to peacefully wrest power from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the 2018 general elections.

Mujuru comes out of shell

March 2, 2016
Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

FORMER Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru launched her political outfit — Zimbabwe People First — in Harare yesterday and pledged to return Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth and to reverse the indigenisation programme, among other policies that will undo the incumbent Government’s initiatives.

Visible at the Press conference held at Meikles Hotel were hordes of diplomats from Western countries and former zanu-pf members like Dzikamai Mavhaire, Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, former ambassadors Agrippa Mutambara and John Mvundura, David Butau, Claudius Makova, Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, Bright Matonga, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Sylvester Nguni, among others.

Dr Mujuru also vowed to relook at the land reform programme by conducting an audit she said was meant to uproot multiple farm owners.

In her address, Dr Mujuru said the event was meant to confirm the existence of the ZPF.

“Today is a historic day. Today we present ourselves to you in humility and the humbling comfort of the people’s support. There has been tense speculation from our detractors. There has been strong anticipation from our supporters. We had to resist temptation, the temptation to formalise our being and existence without adequate consultation with the people of Zimbabwe,” she said.

“This is a day of great significance in our country’s political history. Today we confirm our existence or the existence of a viable home-grown inclusive political party. It is now public knowledge that the Zimbabwe People First is here.”

Dr Mujuru said Zimbabwe faced urgent need for socio-political and economic transformation and went on to outline the ZPF’s policies.

“The investment environment is crowded by multiple incoherent policies. Zimbabwe urgently needs investor friendly policies to stimulate economic activity. The scourge of corruption will need to be totally uprooted. There is urgent need to create jobs for the huge growing army of unemployed and hopeless people out there, a whole review of the indigenisation act would be effected. We shall emphasise economic empowerment that attracts investment,” said Dr Mujuru.

She said the land policy needed to be relooked.

“A well-defined land policy should be instituted and properly administered to ensure full and sustainable utilisation of land by recipient. There should be an independent land audit to weed out multiple farm ownership,” added Dr Mujuru.

She said offer letters would be scrapped.

“A more acceptable security of tenure will replace the offer letter. Bankable and transferable leases are not an option, but a given.”

Dr Mujuru said her party was committed to engaging the West.

“Zimbabwe People First is committed to ensuring that Zimbabwe regains its rightful place in the global community of nations. We shall rejoin the Commonwealth,” she said.

“We will seek rapprochement with countries that are currently having poor diplomatic and difficult economic relations with us without sacrificing our national sovereignty.”

Dr Mujuru said she was aware that some stakeholders were sceptical of the ZPF project.

“Let me now address a certain level of scepticism which is bound to be directed at ZPF by some stakeholders, that scepticism that you were in zanu-pf for many years why should we believe that you will transform this country. My simple answer is that People First is a new entity with new values and followers from every political party in Zimbabwe including those that have never joined any political party before,” said Dr Mujuru.

She said her party would be preparing for an inaugural elective convention that will usher in a substantive leadership in the few coming months.

Dr Mujuru also spoke about forming a coalition with other political parties.

“We will stand by and support all those who believe in what we stand for. We will strive to ensure a coming together and meeting of minds on this vision.

“We encourage and promote dialogue amongst all like-minded organisations. We will support convergence of minds. We will seek the mandate of the People First members to take this to its logical conclusion,” she said.

Dr Mujuru denied ever meeting MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai saying it was a creation of media houses that published such stories in a bid to make money from the articles.

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