Vice-President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday said Zanu PF was ready to change its ways and close ranks with critical constituencies such as business and local communities in order to make up for its mistakes, appease the aggrieved and remain relevant.
The Vice-President, who is the second secretary of Zanu PF, was “guest listener” during the party’s one-day business seminar held at Celebration Centre, themed Business Talks to Zanu PF. The event was attended by business leaders and senior Zanu PF officials.
Zanu PF, in power for the first 28 years of independence until a power-sharing arrangement in February last year, is widely accused of running down the economy and perpetrating human rights abuses, including political murders and other atrocities, in order to stay in power.
Human rights groups claim they have evidence that the violence, which escalated in the run-up to the presidential run-off election of June 27, 2008, was state-sanctioned.
In a startling confession, VP Mujuru said grievances about police brutality, non-performing government officials and “lying” ministers, had alienated the revolutionary party from the people that it freed from colonial bondage.
As a sign of “atonement”, she said, Zanu PF decided to pull key constituencies aside and talk, promising to “listen”, “change”, build bridges and relate on the basis of a new understanding.
“You can imagine how we felt as a party, as freedom fighters, to hear that the people were no longer with us. It’s painful,” VP Mujuru said.
“Why do we have to sleep with one eye open thinking somebody is going to harm me? It has happened in the communities and we end up saying it’s President Robert Mugabe. Yet, it’s someone else who has orchestrated that mishap on you. (President) Mugabe doesn’t know.
“When we saw this happening, we said to ourselves, ‘No, let’s meet these people and tell them Zanu PF is a people’s party.’ We can’t rule without business. You don’t have to think that this dialogue can’t change things within Zanu PF.
Things change and Zanu PF can change.”
VP Mujuru also regretted that there are people who had “killed” in the name of Zanu PF while the some members of the police had harassed and brutalised citizens for reasons other than professional, hiding behind their official caps.
She denied the perpetrators of violence acted under instruction from Zanu PF or its government and issued a stern warning against the transgressors saying she loathed the country’s reputation of murders and police harassment.
“If anyone is being followed by the police, it’s not the policy of government. It’s individuals abusing the state apparatus for personal interests,” VP Mujuru said.
“If you are out there and you kill in the name of Zanu PF, the law will catch up with you because an offence (once) committed should be brought to justice. Zanu PF won’t protect you. We don’t want be a country known for murder and harassment.”
She also admitted that Zanu PF ministers and government officials had traditionally misled President Mugabe on critical government business, the state of the economy and the country’s politics.
“Most people think that (President) Mugabe knows everything, but the truth is he doesn’t know. His lieutenants don’t tell him everything. Messengers have a tendency to misrepresent things. This is what has been happening. I have often heard him say, ‘Mai Mujuru, is it true that things can happen that way?’ It shows that his lieutenants have not presented facts in the correct format.”
SMEs minister Sithembisio Nyoni also said Zanu PF had launched a campaign to win back key constituencies, starting with district and provincial conferences.
“We are determined to give Zanu PF a human face, a business face, it’s called transformation with the people,” said Nyoni.