OUSTED former Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday said she would not be pushed into prematurely announcing her political future despite mounting pressure from disgruntled ex-Zanu PF members who want her to lead their proposed new political outfit, Zanu People First (PF).
by XOLISANI NCUBE/OBEY MANAYITI
Mujuru told NewsDay yesterday that she would decide on the opportune time to make a move.
“I am not there to be pushed. I have my own time and plans,” she said.
Disaffected Zanu PF members who have been putting their political fate on her were reportedly losing patience due to her failure to publicly declare if she was ready to take Zanu PF head-on and challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 presidential race.
Instead of making her plans known after her expulsion from the ruling party in March this year, Mujuru has kept her political cards close to her chest.
This has, however, angered some Zanu PF officials who were suspended, booted out from party posts or fired from government after they were linked to her alleged plot to unconstitutionally topple Mugabe.
Her allies told NewsDay in separate interviews this week that Mujuru’s silence and “wait-and-see” attitude was demoralising most of them.
“Many people are being targeted for expulsion on allegations that they are linked to Mujuru. But she herself has not come out in the open to state if she is ready to have a party formed with her being the leader or not,” a suspended ex-senior Zanu PF and government official who declined to be named for fear of victimisation said.
“She must be open and declare what she wants so that we start to drum up support and organise seriously and accommodate all those who would have been fired from Zanu PF unjustifiably.”
But Mujuru said those interpreting her silence as cowardice were wrong.
“That is what they think,” she said.
Former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday defended Mujuru’s “quiet diplomacy”, describing her stance as “tactful and calculative”.
“Come 2018, she will be there. People should not despair. This regime has failed and we are working on something,” Gumbo said. “They must not expect her to comment or talk much. It is a strategy, comrade, and it will succeed.”
Gumbo is among several senior politicians aligned to the Mujuru camp and the list includes former Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Ray Kaukonde and ex-secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Mujuru lost her lofty government and party positions and was subsequently expelled from Zanu PF on allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe through unconstitutional means.
The campaign to ostracise Mujuru was led by First Lady Grace Mugabe who publicly accused her of corruption, extortion, witchcraft and plotting to assassinate Mugabe.
Yesterday, former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chair Temba Mliswa — who was also unceremoniously dismissed from Zanu PF and recalled from Parliament on charges of backing Mujuru — said he was already mobilising former Young Turks in the ruling party to form a formidable force to challenge the Zanu PF regime in the next general elections.
“We don’t belong to anybody, that includes Gamatox, MDC or Zanu PF. We believe in the youths standing and getting into the corridors of power,” Mliswa said.
“This is all about the young people who said they want to be involved in the governance of this country. Most of the political parties have totally neglected the people and our generation will not allow the situation to deteriorate. We are testing the corridors of power. It’s not a secret that the future of this country is in the hands of the young people.”
He ruled out the formation of his own political party for now.
His group comprises former Zanu PF Harare Youth League chair Jim Kunaka as secretary for security, former Mashonaland East Youth League chair Lucky Kandemiri as secretary for administration, and John Mushayi as the commissar, among others.
Mliswa said they had identified a representative in each province and were working towards reclaiming power from the “old and corrupt guard” and the young corrupt leaders who were proving to be bad ambassadors for the “young generation”.