FORMER vice-president Joice Mujuru, who is in the process of forming a new political party under the People First banner, is increasingly becoming a unifier of the various MDC factions and other parties as she moves to entice opposition to form a coalition against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Since announcing her intention to return to the political arena following her dramatic ouster from government and Zanu PF after the ruling party’s controversial congress in December, Mujuru has become the centre of gravity for opposition political parties ahead of the elections.
She published her policy statement in September, all but confirming her entry into politics.
This week the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said it was ready to work with Mujuru in a bid to dislodge Mugabe, joining the MDC-T which has warmed up to the former vice-president, although some officials in the party believe she should not take a leading role in the proposed coalition.
“We are ready to work with her movement and we have been holding high-level talks with her and some of her advisors,” Biti said in an interview on Sunday.
“The Zanu PF split is the best thing to have happened to the country’s democratisation agenda because it has weakened the ruling party whose tentacles are found everywhere, from a high school to the military.”
Biti, however, expressed fear that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai may stall the grand coalition unless he can read the broad picture. “Tsvangirai is the only elephant in the room because he is thinking of power before we even form this coalition,” he said.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu recently said his party was ready to work with Mujuru’s People First outfit as it carried “the much-needed liberation credentials that we need as a country.”
Gutu said: “We would like to make it known that as a party, we are happy that some former liberation stalwarts have seen the light and are now speaking the language of democracy.”
Mujuru is also believed to be engaging former Zipra intelligence supremo and a ex-Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa who is leading Zapu. She is also close and even related to former Finance minister and politburo member Simba Makoni, who is the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn president. Makoni, who was believed to have been sponsored by the Mujuru faction, broke away from Zanu PF in 2008 to challenge Mugabe. He was supported by Dabengwa in his presidential bid.
Former Zanu PF Midlands provincial youth leader, Tanaka Manyadza, now doing organising and mobilisation work for People First in Midlands, attended a PDP rally in Gweru on Sunday and announced that People First movement was ready to join forces with other political parties to dislodge Zanu PF from power.
Manyadza said opposition parties needed to be united to fight Zanu PF. “If we are going to have resistance systems and resistance civilian armies, that’s it,” he said.
“It means that we have to fight for this country because these people (Zanu PF) are saying ‘we fought for this country’, so if it means we (opposition) will have to fight for this country also, we will fight for it.”
Other former senior officials in Zanu PF who are now pushing the People First agenda such as former spokesman Rugare Gumbo, ex-secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and removed war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda have also announced that Mujuru and People First were ready to work with other opposition parties.
The majority of opposition parties, except the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, have shown interests to work with the former vice-president. Sources said Biti has been tasked to talk to Ncube so that he joins the proposed coalition.