FORMER Zanu PF provincial chairman Daniel Shumba, who launched his own opposition political party, the United People’s Party (UPP), in Harare on Saturday, will announce the party executive on July 31.
Shumba, the interim p
resident of the UPP, said the party executive would be announced after consultations with provinces had been completed.
He also said the UPP would soon after that embark on national road-shows to drum up support. The UPP programme shows there are a lot of activities lined up in the next few months, including preparations for the party’s first congress.
While Shumba has said he expected 100 000 people at the launch of his party at Zimbabwe Grounds, there were only a couple of thousand people present.
The party has however printed at least two million membership cards and has claimed it was getting “an overwhelming response from the people on the ground”.
Although the UPP did not announce members of its interim executive at the launch, Shumba said they included prominent opposition and civil society activists.
He said his party was pulling out all the stops to recruit people with solid political credentials to take leadership positions and build strong party structures.
Shumba, also a former senior Zanu PF central committee member and businessman, formally resigned from the ruling party in January after he was suspended for five years over a power struggle that rocked Zanu PF in November 2004 in the run-up to the party’s congress that year.
He was suspended together with five other provincial chairmen following the episode which claimed a number of high-profile political casualties, including former Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who were accused of backing Zanu PF luminary Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid for power.
Mnangagwa and his faction — sometimes referred to as the Tsholotsho camp — have been linked to the United People’s Movement (UPM) whose primary mover has been Moyo and ex-Zanu PF central committee member and MP Pearson Mbalekwa who resigned from the ruling party last year over Operation Murambatsvina.
Shumba was expected to be a member of the UPM but decided to form his own party.
The UPP said it has already drafted a party constitution, printed membership cards and set up nationwide structures. The party’s position paper, which outlines its policies, deals with constitutional issues, electoral law, legislative affairs and a wide range of democratic reforms that the party says are needed.
It also addresses human rights issues such as the Gukurahundi massacres and Operation Murambatsvina, land redistribution, macro-economics, food security, health, education and foreign policy. It says the UPP believes in a free market economy.
“UPP pronounces the people’s will and a mandate for saving the nation from further demise. Recent episodes have turned and subjected the generality of Zimbabweans to poverty, hopelessness and victims of misrule, greed, brutality, terror, corruption and dictatorship,” the document says.
“Zanu PF is using fear and terror to subdue and disenfranchise the whole country, thus guaranteeing its grip on power. It is now an offence to speak the truth, criticise and have a different opinion.” — Staff Writer.