ZIMBABWE – Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has reportedly approved a proposed People First (PF) project constitution, setting in motion plans to launch the party, which has been on the cards for several months now.
NewsDay is reliably informed Mujuru appended her signature as leader of the new opposition party last Tuesday, paving way for a massive recruitment exercise, whose epicentre, sources said, was the Zanu PF political hotbed of Mashonaland East province.
PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the document was with Mujuru, although he was unsure whether she had signed it.
“I am not sure about signing. As far as I know, it has not been signed, but we have generally agreed that it is a good document. We are still consulting with our sympathisers and supporters,” he said. “We need them to give input before the final document, but so far we are happy with what we have.”
It is expected that the party’s constitution will be founded on Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build), a policy document Mujuru publicised about two months ago. Mujuru has for several months kept people guessing on her next political move, making subtle hints she was on the verge of forming a party, although she has been publicly coy.
On Tuesday, she issued a statement berating President Robert Mugabe for continuously accusing her of plotting to kill him, yet he was yet to present evidence to back his claims.
In forming her party, Mujuru has the support of Gumbo, former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
They are among a number of several Zanu PF members who were axed from the party on allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe and fanning factionalism. Sources claim PF has undertaken an intensive recruitment drive across the country’s provinces, targeting disgruntled Zanu PF and MDC-T activists in the process.
“They are on a massive recruitment drive and are attracting former MDC-T and Zanu PF activists, who have been dumped or are disillusioned. Zanu PF is aware of this and that is why you have (First Lady) Grace (Mugabe) panicking,” an insider said.
Last week, Grace called on Zanu PF youths to be vigilant and watch former Marondera Central MP Ray Kaukonde’s activities in Mashonaland East closely. She claimed the former Zanu PF provincial chairman and Gumbo were giving youths, some as young as 15 years old, cash to be part of their project ahead of the 2018 elections.
Gumbo said Grace’s accusations should be dismissed with the contempt they deserved.
“We are no longer members of Zanu PF, why should she be worried about how we conduct ourselves?” he asked.
“We are organising and getting ideas from people. We believe that any transformation will have to come from the people.We do not believe in the Zanu PF thinking of one centre of power. It is a feudalistic, primitive and monarchical understanding that does not have a place in modern societies.”