PRESSSURE is mounting on former vice-president Joice Mujuru from her supporters within and outside Zanu PF to offer leadership and announce the way forward following her expulsion from Zanu PF in April.
Faith Zaba/Owen Gagare
Mujuru’s supporters want her to come out and clearly state whether she will form a party to challenge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF as anticipated.
Youths sympathetic to Mujuru are moving ahead of her and have started forming structures, under the People First banner, to force Mujuru and other senior officials who were kicked out of Zanu PF or lost their positions in the run up to, during and after the controversial Zanu PF congress in December last year, to take decisive action.
The youth structure, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, will be led by Temba Mliswa. Other officials in the national youth executive include Lilian Kandemiri (secretary for administration), J Masawi (secretary for finance), John Mushayi (political commissar), Jimu Kunaka (secretary for security), Endai Mugomeza (secretary for external affairs), Farai Kuvheya (secretary for information), Tererai Mafukidze (secretary for legal affairs) and Prosper Gavanga (secretary for student affairs).
This Mafukidze is not the same as his namesake Tererai Mafukidze who practices as an advocate at the Laywers’ Bar in Harare and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Myra Ngozo and Prince Shinya will be committee members.
Point persons have also been identified for each of the provinces. Tranos Huruva will coordinate activities in Masvingo while Kudakwashe Muringani will spearhead operations in Mashonaland East.
Other provincial point persons include Jackson Chizanga (Mashonaland West), Dugmore Chimukoko (Mashonaland Central), Tanaka Manyadza (Midlands), Mabutho Moyo (Bulawayo), Themba Nyathi (Matabeleland North), Tendai Diwa (Harare) and a Mapfumo in Manicaland.
Provincial women’s league structures have also been set up across the country, the sources said.
Officials close to Mujuru said the former vice-president was in a dilemma on what course of action to take and had requested that her colleagues give her time.
The officials said Mujuru was traumatised by her brutal ouster from Zanu PF, a party she joined as a teenager in 1973 when she crossed into Mozambique to fight in the liberation struggle at the age of 17.
Before losing her position as vice-president and deputy secretary of Zanu PF, Mujuru had served in successive governments since Independence in 1980.
Mujuru’s advantage in her bid to plot a fight back or form a party appears to be that she has structures and grassroots support, mostly composed of people who were removed in a stage-managed string of votes-of-no-confidence during the congress period, and will thus not need to start afresh. The structures will also be composed of victims of the continuing purges post-congress.
Party officials perceived to be Mujuru’s allies are currently being removed from party structures from branch to district levels across the country in the restructuring exercise being undertaken by the commissariat department. Even local authority officials and school heads, particularly in rural areas, are also targeted.
Mujuru has remained a force to reckon with on Zimbabwe’s political landscape despite her ouster from Zanu PF, although she has kept her cards firmly close to her chest.
She was fired alongside several former ministers, among them, Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, who was also party secretary for administration, Labour minister Nicholas Goche, Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Olivia Muchena, ICT minister Webster Shamu (Zanu PF political commissar) and Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.
Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, his deputy Munacho Mutezo, Flora Buka (Minister of State for Presidential Affairs), Paul Chimedza (Health and Child Care deputy minister), Sylvester Nguni (Minister of State in former Vice-President Mujuru’s Office), Tongai Muzenda (Public Service deputy minister), Petronella Kagonye (Transport deputy minister), Fortune Chasi (Justice deputy minister) and Tendai Savanhu (Lands deputy minister) and Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, were also dismissed.
Zanu PF also dismissed nine out of the 10 provincial chairpersons in the run up to congress for supporting Mujuru’s alleged plot to oust Mugabe.
Most officials have remained mum after being fired save for Mutasa, former party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, former war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda and Mliswa.
The quartet is expected to play a prominent role in the formation of the proposed party.
In an interview on Wednesday, Gumbo said while he appreciated the confusion among party supporters and other Mujuru sympathisers caused by her silence, he understood where she was coming from.
He said people have to remember that Mujuru was fired after loyally serving Zanu PF and its government for 42 years and never dreamt Mugabe would toss her out like trash as he did.
Gumbo said although they strongly believe that Mujuru has the grassroot support in both urban and rural areas, they will not plunge headlong until they are sure.
“It is a question of timing. When we are ready we will launch the party. We have to be sure that the party will be organised and strong. We want a compact and well-structured party across all provinces,” he said.
“The country is currently in a state of siege and there is so much distrust. We inherited the Rhodesian structures like the Joint Operations Command, made up of security chiefs and we are also enforcing the same draconian laws that were used to suppress us and also using the same system of illegal bugging, torture, intimidation and abductions, to deal with opponents.”
He added: “People were being intimidated everywhere. These are the challenges we have to overcome — it is very difficult to change such a repressive system. The entire society is gripped with fear.”
Gumbo said they were consulting widely first and they want to involve the grassroots people in the setting up of the party.
“We are in the process of mobilising our grassroots support. We are observing Zanu PF, which is fighting with itself and we want to see how far the fights will go. Obviously Mujuru has her own understanding of the dynamics and she is doing her own analysis to see how to handle the situation,” he said. “We also want to take stock of what is happening, so there is no need to rush. We have a strong candidate for 2018; it is Zanu PF which does not have one.”