ZIMBABWE – HARARE – Concerted efforts by the post-congress Zanu PF to torpedo the mooted electoral pact between former Vice President Joice Mujuru and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appear to have hit the skids after the People First movement reiterated its eagerness to work with the MDC.
People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News that Mujuru was “more than prepared” to work with Tsvangirai — with the liberation struggle stalwart gushingly describing the former prime minister in the Government of National Unity as having consistently “exhibited true leadership qualities”.
Speaking in the wake of heightened attacks on the mooted deal by President Robert Mugabe’s lieutenants and other detractors, Gumbo said it was “most disheartening that focus is being put on politics when millions of Zimbabweans are suffering because of the post-congress Zanu PF’s failed policies”.
“We have said it before and we will say it now, we are ready to work with any democratic forces in the country be it Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni or Tsvangirai.
“We have engaged some of these leaders and talks are in progress,” a relaxed Gumbo said.
Since Mujuru launched her Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development manifesto, which has received widespread approval, the much-harassed widow of the late national hero, Solomon Mujuru, has come under heavy political attack from her former comrades in the post-congress Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai has also since moved to accuse the ruling party of trying to throw spanners in the works and scuttle the mooted alliance between him and the former VP, including using some elements in the MDC to do so.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News on Monday, the MDC president said his party’s thrust, at the moment, was not to focus on who would lead the envisaged coalition of opposition parties, but to concentrate on efforts to remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from power.
“I am worried about the current infiltration by Zanu PF agents to destabilise opposition alliances. Speaking as the president of the MDC, I would like to make it clear that we are and we will work with Mai Mujuru and all other opposition parties to ensure that we deliver real freedom and a better life to Zimbabweans.
“Our enemy as opposition parties is Zanu PF not Mai Mujuru and other opposition leaders,” the battle-hardened Tsvangirai said.
And Gumbo swiftly moved to buttress this view yesterday, saying the abiding aim of his group was to form “a viable alliance with positive-minded people” like Tsvangirai.
“One should understand that there is need for all democratic forces to come together to remove this autocratic government. But for now it is not possible to form a coalition because we are still to formally come up with our own party.
“It is Zanu PF which is trying to destabilise the mission. Fortunately, Tsvangirai has come out clean and displayed beyond doubt that he is a true leader,” Gumbo said, adding that, “for now the mission is to expose Zanu PF’s ineptitude through offering alternative solutions”.
“People should not be pre-occupied with trailing us and trying to derail the formation of our party because that is as good as done. We will form our party and that is definite,” Gumbo said.
With the post-congress Zanu PF consumed by vicious factional and succession wars, and the economy in freefall as ministers commit themselves more to party business rather than bread and butter issues, Gumbo said it was a matter of time before the ruling party was turfed out of power.
The Daily News has previously reported that Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been talking through emissaries over the past few months, to explore how they can work together to challenge Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
It is understood that among other meetings by various other players, former ambassador to Germany and close Tsvangirai confidante, Hebson Makuvise, recently met former Presidential Affairs minister and key Mujuru ally, Didymus Mutasa, to “explore options”.
But threatened by the prospects of Mujuru and her People First outfit, as well as the potency of the manifesto that she released
recently, a panicky Zanu PF, its senior officials and other sycophants have gone into overdrive over the past few weeks bad-mouthing the former VP in a desperate bid to try and discredit her and her manifesto.
Unfortunately, for many ruling party apparatchiks, particularly those active on social media, the public sentiment has been overwhelmingly positive to Mujuru and her manifesto, even as people have also said that they would like to see her distancing herself more from her decades of association with Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Mugabe’s warring party split into two bitterly-opposed formations at the end of last year at the height of its internal ructions, with its purged liberation struggle stalwarts moving to initiate the re-establishment of the “original” Zanu PF — which uses the slogan People First.