ZIMBABWE – Opposition ZimFirst leader and ex-advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai, Maxwell Zeb Shumba has lashed out at Joice Mujuru and her allies for allegedly stealing the name, People First, from his ideas.
Mujuru, ousted as both country and Zanu PF Vice President December last year, is widely linked to the shadowy People First party, a grouping of disgruntled Zanu PF rejects trying to revive their political fortunes.
However, she would not go without a spirited challenge from the US-based medical doctor, who feels Mujuru stole his intellectual property.
“I am the author of People First,” Shumba charged, in a wide ranging Thursday telephone interview with NewZimbabwe.com from his base.
He insisted that Mujuru was a selfish politician who was least likely to imagine people coming first.
“Joice Mujuru has been with Mugabe for 35 years; did she ever think about people first?” Shumba said.
“She was Mujuru first; she is still Mujuru first. When did she start thinking about people first?
“And that is the reason why it (Mujuru’s party) is not going anywhere because it is visionless. The author of the vision is me. I am here!”
People First is a political slogan which suggests the prioritization of ordinary people’s concerns ahead of politicians.
Shumba, who was in 2013 recruited by MDC-T leader Tsvangirai as his advisor, said the slogan was stolen from his national convergence document he titled Zimbabwe First National Convergence.
He says he distributed the concept to all opposition parties but former Zanu PF politburo member and top Mujuru ally, Didymus Mutasa quickly snapped up the idea and converted it into theirs.
Mutasa, so says Shumba, first requested to name their scantily formed party, Zanu People First and when he refused, he proceeded without Shumba’s approval.
“They decided to move forward alone without my consent, at first calling themselves Zanu People First and eventually stripped off Zanu,” he said.
“I authored People First and I have the documentation to prove it. They stole my idea and they know they did.
“Yes they can steal a concept but they did not steal a vision because to them my question is do you even know what people first meant when I coined it?
“Those are just English words. Does People First to them mean the same thing that I meant?
“I am not bothered because they don’t own the vision.”
The 49-year-old politician says he has plans to relocate to Zimbabwe soon to add impetus to his presidential bid 2018.