FORMER Zimbabwe Vice-President Joice Mujuru has announced she will contest the 2018 elections.
Mujuru, fired from government and the ruling party late last year, has been flirting with the idea of coming back into mainstream politics amid reports of the coalescing of a group of disgruntled ex-Zanu PF stalwarts stampeded out of the former liberation movement as part of the succession fight.
On Tuesday she published a Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) – a two-page plan that read like an election manifesto, signalling she wamy readying to challenge the 91-year-old Mugabe has indicated he will contest the 2018 vote at the age of 94.
Mujuru, 60, has not formed a political party. But during her 10 years as Mugabe’s deputy, she was seen as a shoe-in to replace Zimbabwe’s sole leader since independence from Britain in 1980.
Her policy document comes at a time the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has split and weakened over how to confront Mugabe.
The ruling Zanu PF party has already chosen Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 presidential poll, when he will be 94.
Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said Mujuru still enjoyed significant support from ordinary Zanu PF members, senior party officials and the military establishment.
“Let’s not assume that it will be plain sailing for her. She will be subject to the usual restrictions and repression as has been the familiar trademark against those who oppose Zanu PF,” said Masunungure.
Outlining her People First project’s vision, Mujuru said “we are national democrats, guided by the values of the liberation struggle of self-determination” adding this would be expressed through the adoption of market driven polices under a constitutional democracy.
Mujuru said under her watch government will make sure “all people are created equal under God and therefore will be treated equally before the law” including all offices.
“We shall promote and support free press. Repeal AIPPA (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) and review the licensing criteria and methodology under the Broadcasting Services Act and related legislation,” she said.
Besides amendments a litany of crude pieces of legislation used by Mugabe to clamp down on descent, Mujuru said her government would allow millions of Zimbabweans dotted across the globe the right to vote.
“The Criminal Codification and Reform Act to the Constitution will be re-aligned while the Electoral Act will be amended to fully comply with the constitution’s provisions,” said Mujuru.
More tellingly, Mujuru touched on the raw nerve that has become the indigenisation and land issues indicating there would also be massive changes to laws that restrict the people’s freedoms.
Investors have cited Zimbabwe’s lack of respect for property rights relating to mainly the land issue in the aftermath of the chaotic Land Redistribution exercise and the forced ceding of shareholding in companies as part of black economic empowerment.
Mujuru said a government under her leadership would repeal these laws.
“A wholesale review of the indigenisation Act will be effected.
“We shall emphasize economic empowerment that attracts investment and promotes the broad based socio-economic infrastructure development objectives.
“We shall enforce, promote and respect property rights and address historical compulsory acquisition through fair and transparent compensation.”
She said her government would provide title for land.
“All persons who call Zimbabwe home shall be entitled to access land and participate in its sustainable utilisation.
“We shall give immediate value to agricultural land by promoting a transparent land policy framework that attracts investment, creates, promotes and supports security of tenure and bankable leases.”
With Zimbabwe having gone through a traumatic 35 years under Mugabe including the horrific Gukurahundi period in which over 20,000 people are said to have lost their lives as well as the intermittent outbreaks of violence during successive elections Mujuru said her government would undertake a national healing exercise to address “the trauma emanating from pre and post-independence conflicts in Zimbabwe”.
And with Zimbabwe reeling under the weight of a crippling $10 billion debt Mujuru said unlike Mugabe she will engage bilateral and multilateral creditors and “commit to a debt resolution strategy tied to our socio-economic development initiatives”.
Under her, loss making parastatals will “not enjoy state subsidies indefinitely if at all”.
“We shall depoliticize, commercialise and where possible privatize parastatals and state owned enterprises as necessary to ensure accountability, effective delivery and transparency and commercial viability,” Mujuru said.
She said her policies were inspired by the desire and determination to “see our nation move forward as a proud member of the community of nations as well as create a just and equitable society”.
Source: New Zimbabwe