ZIMBABWE – Former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru launched her political outfit — Zimbabwe People First — in Harare yesterday and pledged to return Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth and to reverse the indigenisation programme, among other policies that will undo the incumbent Government’s initiatives.
Visible at the press conference held at Meikles Hotel were diplomats from Western countries and former Zanu-PF members like Dzikamai Mavhaire, Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, former ambassadors Agrippa Mutambara and John Mvundura, David Butau, Claudius Makova, Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, Bright Matonga, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Sylvester Nguni, among others.
Mujuru also vowed to relook at the land reform exercise by conducting an audit she said was meant to uproot multiple farm owners.
So lavish was the press briefing such that journalists and delegates were treated to eats after her address pointing to strong funding.
In her address, Mujuru said the event was meant to confirm the existence of the ZPF.
“Today is a historic day. Today we present ourselves to you in humility and the humbling comfort of the people’s support. There has been tense speculation from our detractors. There has been strong anticipation from our supporters. We had to resist temptation, the temptation to formalise our being and existence without adequate consultation with the people of Zimbabwe,” she said.
“This is a day of great significance in our country’s political history. Today we confirm our existence or the existence of a viable home-grown inclusive political party. It is now public knowledge that the Zimbabwe People First is here.”
Dr Mujuru said Zimbabwe faced urgent need for socio-political and economic transformation and went on to outline the ZPF’s policies.
“The investment environment is crowded by multiple incoherent policies. Zimbabwe urgently needs investor friendly policies to stimulate economic activity. The scourge of corruption will need to be totally uprooted. There is urgent need to create jobs for the huge growing army of unemployed and hopeless people out there, a whole review of the indigenisation act would be effected. We shall emphasise economic empowerment that attracts investment,” said Dr Mujuru.
She said the land policy needed to be relooked.
“A well-defined land policy should be instituted and properly administered to ensure full and sustainable utilisation of land by recipient. There should be an independent land audit to weed out multiple farm ownership,” added Dr Mujuru.
She said offer letters would be scrapped.
“A more acceptable security of tenure will replace the offer letter. Bankable and transferable leases are not an option, but a given.”
Dr Mujuru said her party was committed to engaging the West.
“Zimbabwe People First is committed to ensuring that Zimbabwe regains its rightful place in the global community of nations. We shall rejoin the Commonwealth,” she said.
“We will seek rapprochement with countries that are currently having poor diplomatic and difficult economic relations with us without sacrificing our national sovereignty.”
Dr Mujuru said she was aware that some stakeholders were sceptical of the ZPF project.
“Let me now address a certain level of scepticism which is bound to be directed at ZPF by some stakeholders, that scepticism that you were in Zanu-PF for many years why should we believe that you will transform this country. My simple answer is that People First is a new entity with new values and followers from every political party in Zimbabwe including those that have never joined any political party before,” said Dr Mujuru.
She said her party would be preparing for an inaugural elective convention that will usher in a substantive leadership in the few coming months.
Dr Mujuru also spoke about forming a coalition with other political parties.
“We will stand by and support all those who believe in what we stand for. We will strive to ensure a coming together and meeting of minds on this vision.
“We encourage and promote dialogue amongst all like-minded organisations. We will support convergence of minds. We will seek the mandate of the People First members to take this to its logical conclusion,” she said.
Dr Mujuru denied ever meeting MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai saying it was a creation of media houses that published such stories in a bid to make money from the articles.