Friday, November 27, 2015

Mujuru Closer to Launching Party in Zimbabwe
27 November 2015

ZIMBABWE – Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has reportedly approved a proposed People First (PF) project constitution, setting in motion plans to launch the party, which has been on the cards for several months now.

NewsDay is reliably informed Mujuru appended her signature as leader of the new opposition party last Tuesday, paving way for a massive recruitment exercise, whose epicentre, sources said, was the Zanu PF political hotbed of Mashonaland East province.

PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the document was with Mujuru, although he was unsure whether she had signed it.

“I am not sure about signing. As far as I know, it has not been signed, but we have generally agreed that it is a good document. We are still consulting with our sympathisers and supporters,” he said.

“We need them to give input before the final document, but so far we are happy with what we have.”

It is expected that the party’s constitution will be founded on Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build), a policy document Mujuru publicised about two months ago.

Mujuru has for several months kept people guessing on her next political move, making subtle hints she was on the verge of forming a party, although she has been publicly coy.

On Tuesday, she issued a statement berating President Robert Mugabe for continuously accusing her of plotting to kill him, yet he was yet to present evidence to back his claims.

In forming her party, Mujuru has the support of Gumbo, former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.

They are among a number of several Zanu PF members who were axed from the party on allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe and fanning factionalism. Sources claim PF has undertaken an intensive recruitment drive across the country’s provinces, targeting disgruntled Zanu PF and MDC-T activists in the process.

“They are on a massive recruitment drive and are attracting former MDC-T and Zanu PF activists, who have been dumped or are disillusioned. Zanu PF is aware of this and that is why you have (First Lady) Grace (Mugabe) panicking,” an insider said.

Last week, Grace called on Zanu PF youths to be vigilant and watch former Marondera Central MP Ray Kaukonde’s activities in Mashonaland East closely. She claimed the former Zanu PF provincial chairman and Gumbo were giving youths, some as young as 15 years old, cash to be part of their project ahead of the 2018 elections.

Gumbo said Grace’s accusations should be dismissed with the contempt they deserved.

“We are no longer members of Zanu PF, why should she be worried about how we conduct ourselves?” he asked.

“We are organising and getting ideas from people. We believe that any transformation will have to come from the people.We do not believe in the Zanu PF thinking of one centre of power. It is a feudalistic, primitive and monarchical understanding that does not have a place in modern societies.”

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Mugabe, Wife Lying: Mujuru

Nov 24, 2015

HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru last night angrily denied claims by President Robert Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF that she ever plotted to oust and assassinate him, warning the nonagenarian that her plans to form a political party under the People First banner were alive and well.

In a statement last night, Mujuru — who was fired from the ruling party late last year over untested allegations of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe — said she was getting increasingly irritated by the abuse she was getting from the 91-year-old and his wife, Grace.

She insisted, however, that the abuse would not deter her from pushing forward with the People First project as she was free “to do what I want in a free Zimbabwe”.

Mujuru also challenged Mugabe to “take her to court” over the various allegations that had been levelled against her by Zanu PF bigwigs, including those related to treason and corruption.

Ever since Mujuru was kicked out of the post-congress Zanu PF and subsequently linked to the People First movement, ruling party bigwigs led by Mugabe himself have taken turns to accuse the decorated war heroine of all kinds of evil deeds.

The abuse worsened when suggestions emerged that Mujuru and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai were contemplating reaching an electoral pact to challenge Mugabe in the eagerly anticipated 2018 national elections.

Speaking in Gweru at the weekend, Mugabe once again lashed Mujuru for having plotted against him. At the same time, the First Lady has also continued to savage Solomon Mujuru’s widow at her ongoing “Meet the People” rallies.

“Vamwe vakadzimara vabuda pachena vana Mai Mujuru kuti vakuda kuti vauraye vakuru vatore umambo nechisimba sezvakaitwa VaKabila (Laurent) (Some like Mujuru wanted to assassinate me Kabila style)” said Mugabe.

“I did not think that after fighting the colonialist and defeated them Mai Mujuru and Gumbo will betray us saying they want to dislodge me from power and now we say to them you are now traitors, pasi nemhandu (down with traitors), he added.

“In the past week, there has been an unusual amount of abuse leveled against me in public statements made by… Mugabe and the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe.

Unfortunately, the statements are not founded in truth,” Mujuru said.

“When I denied these allegations a year ago, I challenged the authorities to take action in a court of law against me. This is still to happen. I was accused of plotting to overthrow the president. I was accused of visiting witch doctors for assistance and that I betrayed the ethos and values of the liberation struggle. I did nothing wrong,” she said, adding that as a true Christian she “does not partake in such events”.

Further, she added: “Lately, I have been said to be a part of People First as if it is a crime. I am free to do whatever I choose to do with my life outside Zanu PF. It is part of the political freedom I fought for when we went to war. This is enshrined in our State Constitution. We should desist from thinking and believing that any other political party is illegal or unconstitutional for that matter.”

“Zimbabweans are free to choose whom they wish to lead them or what party they want to join or support. Let’s put our People First and avoid focusing an entire nation’s energy on denigrating a poor widow who is quietly, lawfully and constitutionally pursuing her own wishes outside Zanu PF,” Mujuru said.

“Let us BUILD Zimbabwe together by putting our People First,” she said in the short, but hard-hitting statement.

Daily News

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Mujuru not yet finished: Grace

November 22, 2015

First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday claimed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru was busy mobilising people ahead of the 2018 elections, warning that Zanu PF can ignore her at its own peril.


Grace told thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Murewa that Ray Kaukonde, Mashonaland East’s former Zanu PF chairman, was leading Mujuru’s mobilisation strategy targeting mostly youths.

She said the Mujuru strategy was to go for youths, as young as 15 years as they would be eligible to vote come 2018.

“I hear the Mujuru demon is still in the province. We hear Kaukonde is busy giving people money. Please don’t receive dirty money,” she said.

“The enemy is still there; I hear children who are 15 years are being targeted because they don’t know the history of this country.

“Ask your children where they are getting cellphones. They are campaigning for 2018 because they know then they will be eligible to vote.”

Grace urged the youth league to monitor their peers and guard against Mujuru’s alleged maneouvres.

She threatened to deal with Kaukonde “until he gets tall”. She said the former MP should be dragged before the courts for allegedly extorting money from white farmers in the province.

Grace also claimed there were people within Zanu PF who were spying for Mujuru.

“Zanu PF is being used by people to make money. There are people who join Zanu PF to use the party to make money but they are People First. They are being paid to spy,” she said.

“I was talking to [national commissar Saviour] Kasukuwere and telling him there is a demon in Mashonaland East.

“I did not take demons to Mashonaland West but some brought demons here,” she said in apparent reference to Mujuru who hails from Mashonaland Central but was married to the late retied general Solomon Mujuru who hails from Mashonaland East.

Mujuru and her allies were expelled from Zanu PF before and after the 2014 congress for allegedly trying to topple Mugabe, allegations that were never pursued or proved. The former Zanu PF officials are now mobilising to challenge Mugabe under the People First banner.

People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo described Grace’s claims as tragic.

“She seems to know what we are doing but all I can say is we are cursed as Zimbabwe and people who you assisted to get freedom are fighting and attacking us every day,” she said.

“It’s a tragedy for Zimbabwe. It is not for us to judge but it’s for people to do so. It’s unfortunate this is the Zimbabwe we have and all I can say is good luck.”

Grace led the push against Mujuru and her allies last year accusing Mugabe’s former deputy of corruption and incompetence.

Mugabe Wants Mujuru Back

November 16, 2015
Rattled by the dramatic re-entry into formal politics by former Vice President Joice Mujuru two months ago, as well as the prospects of her working with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the 2018 national elections, some members of a panicky Robert Mugabe controlled post-congress Zanu PF are apparently stepping up efforts to lure her back into the ruling party.

Well-placed sources in President Robert Mugabe’s warring party told the Daily News yesterday that while the overtures to Mujuru were “not universally supported”, there was widespread agreement that her brutal purge late last year had left the party more divided and seriously weakened.

“Yes, there are some overtures to her, but I don’t think that these have yet reached a formal stage, and they are certainly not universally supported.

Many hardliners are opposed to such a move as it would threaten their positions.

“One thing that is not in dispute any more is that Mai Mujuru’s ghost looms large in the party,” a senior Zanu PF official said when asked to comment on the overtures.

Since the popular widow of the late liberation struggle icon, Solomon Mujuru, was ruthlessly purged from the ranks of the former liberation movement on untested claims of working to dethrone and assassinate Mugabe, Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars have escalated.

The politburo member who spoke to the Daily News said some party bigwigs were “desperate to let by-gones be by-gones”, which would see Mujuru and her allies being brought back into the party fold, for the sake of the party and the country.

“There is no doubt that things are not going well in the party. Many senior members now say privately that if Mai Mujuru is brought back into the party, we will win the 2018 general elections without any problems.

“The other issue is that everyone in the party (Zanu PF) wants to avoid a coalition between Mai Mujuru and Tsvangirai, because if the two join hands, this could be the end of our party,” he said.

Tell-tale signs of the overtures to Mujuru and her supporters first emerged at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s recent Rushinga rally, where she extended an olive branch to party members who were either dismissed or suspended on allegations of being linked to Mujuru.

“I always say if you see that you have done something wrong, apologise to the party. Even God forgives and as Zanu PF we do the same,” she said.

And in another indication that the ruling party is trying to bring Mujuru and her allies back, the inappropriately named State media columnist, Bishop Lazarus, said recently that Mujuru would return to Zanu PF.

“Mujuru’s silence is being presented as a strategy to ambush Zanu PF towards 2018. That is not the case as she is insisting that she can’t imagine herself fighting against Zanu PF in general and President Mugabe in particular.

“Gumbo and Mutasa are said to be pinning Mai Mujuru down as they try to force her to come out in the open. The Americans and the British are coming from the back, leaving Mai Mujuru with no room to breathe. It’s that bad.

“Seeing that she is in a fix, Mai Mujuru is said to have decided that she won’t comment officially on the People First project, with reports that the Build document that was attributed to her was published against her wish.

“Bishop Lazarus knows where her heart lies, but then let me not rush things here. Gumbo, Mutasa, Americans and the British will one good day know that they are and can’t be cleverer than Zanu PF,” the columnist said.

In the meantime, Mujuru’s allies say the former VP has no intention of going back to Zanu PF or meeting Mugabe as is being suggested in some circles.

Dismissing the speculation, the spokesperson of the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, Rugare Gumbo, said there was a deliberate ploy by the country’s spies to sell the public a dummy and portray Mujuru as a sell-out who was longing to return to Zanu PF.

“We have been alerted that there are Zanu PF propagandists and security services personnel who have been assigned to fabricate and plant dubious stories in the media to the effect that (Dr) Joice Mujuru is still Zanu PF and that she intends on re-joining the faction-riddled and internally-decaying political outfit,” Gumbo said in a statement.

“We seek to set the record straight herein, that (Dr) Mujuru last met Mugabe on December 1, 2014, a day before Mugabe’s party held its congress and no other meeting between the two, or their representatives, has taken place subsequently.

“(Dr) Mujuru has no intentions to meet Mugabe or go back to Zanu PF as she is busy putting in place a strong political entity that will provide a platform for Zimbabweans, in our diversity and with the multiplicity of our skills, to turn around our economy, rehabilitate our service delivery system, restore hope to our long-suffering people and provide jobs and better livelihoods to the thousands of college and university graduates that the current government has condemned to perpetual poverty and destitution,” Gumbo said.

Mujuru recently launched her Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build) manifesto, which caught the post-congress Zanu PF flat-footed and left many in the party visibly rattled.

“We reiterate that (Dr) Mujuru and all progressive Zimbabweans working with her will not be distracted from charting a trajectory that will return our country to economic prosperity through a people-centred political formation whose primary goal is to restore dignity to our people through providing mechanisms for economic sustainability rooted in an inclusive socio-economic and political system.

“No amount of lies, or infertile imaginations, is going to stop the people’s movement,” Gumbo said.


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Mujuru scoffs at Zanu PF links

November 15, 2015

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has rubbished claims from some political quarters that she could be weighing her options with a view to jumping back to Zanu PF, saying that will never happen.


Speaking directly for the first time in response to the allegations, Mujuru told The Standard on Friday: “Do you see Teurai doing such a thing?” (Teurai-Ropa is Mujuru’s liberation war name).

The former VP usually speaks through former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and ex-administrator of the party Didymus Mutasa, who have aligned with her in her new political endeavours.

The Standard managed to secure a brief interview with her in which she insisted on accurate quotes, failure of which she said no interviews would be granted in the future.

“I have more important people’s things to do than to talk about non-existing issues. Uri kuona zvichiitwa naTeurai izvozvo? [Do you see Teurai doing such a thing as re-joining Zanu PF?] When I am ready, I will do what the real suffering people of Zimbabwe want me to do,” she said.

Her statement follows utterances by ex-Zanu PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West Temba Mliswa, who claimed that Mujuru was working with a Zanu PF faction dubbed G40.

“Zimbabweans must learn to respect others and even respect themselves,” Mujuru said. “I am a person of my own ways… I don’t just do things. I have my own way of doing things.”

Gumbo, who now acts as the spokesperson of an outfit linked to the former VP, yesterday corroborated Mujuru’s statements, saying it was “wishful thinking” for Mliswa to suggest Mujuru wanted to return to Zanu PF.

“How can she go back to a party that ill-treated her like that? There is no way she is going back,” he said, adding that Mujuru had made it clear she would be contesting for the presidency in the 2018 elections.

“These allegations are mere dreams which should be forgotten. It is the work of the agents who are bent on distorting information,” Gumbo said.

He said Zanu PF was paying agents to do the “dirty work of misleading the masses”.

Political analyst Alois Masepe said one would have to be “insane” to want to go back to a party that was fraught with so many problems.

“It is a fact that she was ill-treated and to imagine her going back is too far-fetched. The ruling party is on fire, why would Mujuru want to go back?” he questioned.

Masepe said it would take a lot of persuasion and wooing to get the former VP to go back to a party that is “highly unstable”.

He, however, said politics was very unpredictable.

“Politics is the art of the possible, so one can never be certain of how things will eventually turn out,” Masepe said.

Mliswa, the former Hurungwe West MP who was kicked out of Zanu PF together with Mujuru and several other senior members, recently told our sister paper NewsDay that the ex-VP would only be powerful if she returned to Zanu PF.

Along with Mutasa, Gumbo and many others, Mujuru is part of a loose coalition of former Zanu PF liberation stalwarts, reportedly mulling the formation of a party currently going by the name People First.

Mliswa claimed Mujuru was now working with Young Turks within the ruling party opposed to the ascendancy of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency.

The group (G40), according to reports, boasts among its ranks the likes of Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.

Although they all deny belonging to a faction, this has not stopped internal party hawks from linking them to the ambitious group.

“The G40 has realised that it is losing grip. They are losing the internal war with Mnangagwa because the on-going restructuring exercise has put Mnangagwa firmly in charge. His [Mnangagwa’s] people are in charge of Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East,” claimed Mliswa.

Mujuru sacking haunts Mugabe

Nov 10, 2015
By Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is now haunted by the “unjust and disastrous” purging of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her supporters from the post-congress Zanu PF and government, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa — for long one of the most trusted lieutenants of Mugabe — said it had become apparent “even kuna (to) VaMugabe” that Mujuru was not the source of Zanu PF’s problems, as the party’s factional and succession wars had worsened after her brutal purge late last year.

This was why he had “little doubt” that Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF were haunted by Mujuru’s expulsion from the ruling party “on false allegations” that she had been plotting to oust from power and assassinate the increasingly-frail nonagenarian.

Mutasa also said so fraught and ominous was the climate within the post-congress Zanu PF that Mugabe was now under growing pressure to prove that he is still in charge of the party and its sole centre of power.

“The most important person in this country is VaMugabe and you would expect him to say something when such things (worsening factional and succession wars) are happening in his party.

“Previously, he said it’s Mai Mujuru and (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa. But now that she is gone, who does he blame.

“He is clearly seeing what is happening in the country — the economy is bleeding and people are suffering.

“The post-congress Zanu PF, as the ruling party, controls the economy and everything, including me.

“But people are getting poorer and hungrier. In Headlands, for example, many are facing starvation but the ruling party is focussed more on its useless succession wars,” Mutasa said.

Pressed to say if all this demonstrated that Mugabe had lost control of the levers of power in his party and the country, Mutasa laughed and then went on to pooh-pooh the post-congress Zanu PF’s “so-called one centre of power”, adding, “that construct is not attainable”.

“When Emmerson still has a faction, how can you say there is one centre of power in Zanu PF? If there is, then that centre can no longer hold.

“Also, why was such a centre ever created if it cannot function and is actually giving the president problems? This is not to say that they should expel Emmerson, but what is happening is affecting our country very badly,” Mutasa said.

The former senior Cabinet minister spoke as Mnangagwa — who was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Mujuru’s expulsion from the ruling party — is now walking a tightrope, with his Zanu PF rivals expediently, accusing him of prematurely planning for life after Mugabe while he is still at the helm.

In this ugly succession brawl, Mnangagwa is said to be locked in a bitter fight with ambitious party Young Turks, known as the Generation 40 (G40), who are opposed to him and are closely linked to Mugabe’s controversial, but increasingly-powerful wife Grace.

The first lady has made it clear in the past that nothing can stop her from aiming for the highest job in the land, effectively setting herself up on a collision course with Mnangagwa, whose loyalists refer to him as the “crown prince”.

Mutasa also said “no amount of spying and infiltration” by State security agents working on behalf of the post-congress Zanu PF would force the People First movement “to prematurely announce” its plans.

He was also adamant that the yet-to-be-formed party had already established provisional structures across the country and that it would be formally launched at “the appropriate time”.

“In as much as I am tempted to divulge when we are forming our party, I am not allowed by my fellow members to talk about that, until the time is opportune,” he said, pooh-poohing State media reports of leadership cracks emerging in the movement.

“I was talking to Mai Mujuru just yesterday, and on Saturday I spoke to Gumbo and he told me he had gone to the Midlands.

“We don’t boast, we are united and there is no way we can allow our leader to just talk.

“She will speak on crucial occasions and whenever it is really necessary. Talks of divisions exist only in the imaginations of drunkards,” Mutasa said.

He added the fact that the post-congress Zanu PF was bitterly divided could be blamed on both Mugabe’s failure to name a successor, as well as his “choice to listen to liars”.

“We are trying to build a new movement that does not go around beating their chest.

“You don’t see the queen (Mujuru) all over, you see her people. Mai Mujuru is definitely our queen.

“The ruling party’s unnecessary wars are a boon to the People First movement, as their disgruntled members are being chased away daily from the party.

“Those who are being affected by the so-called votes of no confidence are coming to People First,” Mutasa said.

“That is why I am saying there is no party stronger than People First in this country,” he added.

Daily News

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