Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) says it cannot wait to take part in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, adding that it will do everything within its power to oust President Robert Mugabe from power in order to rescue the country from Zanu PF’s misrule.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, ZPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party — which is packed with former Zanu PF stalwarts and war veterans — was stepping up its efforts to dethrone Mugabe and his ruling party from power in the interest of all Zimbabweans.
He said of particular concern to ZPF and the majority of the country’s long-suffering citizens was the dying economy which needed “immediate and competent attention” if a complete disaster was to be avoided.
“Our focus is on the economy which is in such a bad shape. And indeed, we cannot wait for 2018 with things going this bad. We have said it time and again that we want to create a peaceful, democratic and stable nation where people can live well, decide their own future and find space to express themselves,” Gumbo said.
With Zanu PF trapped in its mindless bloodletting, as its bigwigs fight to the death to succeed Mugabe, analysts are concerned that Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when the country’s seemingly unending political crisis precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions — which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar and mass emigrations out of the country.
Addressing hundreds of ZPF youths in Bulawayo on Tuesday evening, ZPF interim Bulawayo provincial co-ordinator, Esinath Bulayani, also said the party’s mission was to rescue Zimbabweans from Zanu PF’s misrule of the past 36 years.
“We cannot just sit back and wait for Mugabe to die as if we have no other means to correct this anomaly. This is not a normal situation for Zimbabweans. We have become a laughing stock in neighbouring countries where most of our youths have gone to seek economic refuge.
“We are not a party that is a ‘simple come and go’. We are here to stay, hence power must be given to the youths in order to secure the future,” Bulayani declared.
“We have tolerated oppression for far too long, hence we have resolved that it is time for us all to say oppression has limits and this one has just gone way beyond tolerable limit. In a nutshell, we are simply saying that we do not brook oppression of any dimension, shape or colour,” she added.
Bulayani said it was “a disgrace” to have a country that boasted of having one of the highest literacy levels in Africa and yet it was suffering the outrage of having the highest number of unemployed people, including graduates, on the continent.
“The regime boasts that we have a very high literacy rate yet the very educated youths are without employment or are doing things which are not at all consistent with what they have spent years in school for.
“Fortunately, history will be re-written in two years’ time when ZPF will form the country’s new government” … Mujuru has declared her readiness to free the children of Zimbabwe once again, after what she already did more than three decades ago.
“She has vowed to take on her former boss who has sworn never to vacate State House alive. But we are saying in ZPF that what everyone else thought to be impossible will be defied by us.
We are not a violent party. We encourage peace in everything that we do. Other party youths are that type that can be used to commit violence and then be paid by beer and mbanje (marijuana),” Bulayani thundered.
The youth meeting was graced by senior party officials from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.
But barely a month after ZPF was officially launched, the young political outfit is coming under increasing pressure from Zanu PF, as more ruling party officials and supporters stampede to join the new kid on the block.
On Monday, a ZPF supporter was hospitalised after he was savagely beaten by Zanu PF activists, after being told that his party should stop “stealing” supporters from the deeply-divided ruling party.
The assault, which took place in the Harare dormitory town of Chitungwiza, saw the victim Remedy Musokeri, sustaining multiple internal injuries and losing several teeth, in the latest wave of attacks on ZPF followers.
ZPF Harare youth co-ordinator, Farai Kuveya, said the new political outfit was “under siege because it is making serious inroads into Zanu PF’s support base”.
The Chitungwiza incident comes after four ZPF supporters were injured when violence broke out at one of the party’s rallies in Glen View last month, after a group of suspected Zanu PF youths ran amok in the area.
“These are the last kicks of a dying horse,” a miffed Kuveya said of the increasing attacks on ZPF.
Gumbo said their erstwhile comrades in Zanu PF were now “bereft of ideas and thus resorting to violence”.
“Zanu PF is known to be a violent party. It does not brook any opposition but the reality is that they are losing support left, right and centre.
“But all this will not stop us because we believe in peaceful engagements. Right now our focus is on the economy which is in such a bad shape,” Gumbo said.
“When they were assaulting Musokeri, he was told ‘you guys are taking our people’ and they (the aggressors) were also demanding to know the whereabouts of our Chitungwiza co-ordinator Ephraim Mavungani, who had to flee his house fearing for his life.
“I only managed to assist Musokeri on Monday morning and he was later treated at the Avenues Clinic,” Kuveya said yesterday, adding that the party had reported the matter to Chitungwiza police.
“This is not the first time one of our activists has either been assaulted or abducted in Chitungwiza.
“Although we know the perpetrators by name, no one has been arrested in all the cases, so we don’t take any solace from the police because they have never acted. I also don’t see them doing so now and that is what is giving these guys the guts to continue harassing us,” Kuveya said.
Cynical critics say ZPF is getting a taste of its own medicine as some of its members allegedly used to mete out the same jungle justice to the opposition when they were luxuriating in the ruling party.
“It is not fair to say that,” complained Gumbo to the charges, adding, “Have you heard that Gumbo or Mujuru ever incited violence?
“We may have been in Zanu PF, a party that perpetuates violence, but we never condoned that kind of behaviour. We don’t encourage that behaviour and culture at all.
“It’s not just us, the MDC formations are being harassed and intimidated. We have said it time and again that we want to create a peaceful, democratic and stable nation, where people can decide their own future and find space to express themselves”.