Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru yesterday said her party had become the latest target of President Robert Mugabe’s violent campaign and the ruling party’s nemesis, Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T was enjoying a rare reprieve.
BY TATENDA CHITAGU
In a final throw of the dice to drum up support for her party candidate, Kudakwashe Gopo, ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary by-election in Bikita West, Mujuru said Mugabe’s Zanu PF had resorted to offering cash to senior officials in her party, as part of its infiltration shenanigans.
“We hear that among our war veterans in the party, someone was given $90 000 so that they keep quiet. Such is the level of Zanu PF infiltration, which has targeted us more than the MDC-T,” she said.
“They are no longer worried about the MDC-T, but the focus is now on us.”
Zanu PF has spared no efforts in a vicious war of attrition against Tsvangirai since the turn of the century, but Mujuru’s emergence on the political scene with her liberation war credentials presents a new challenge for the party.
Mujuru also came face to face with Zanu PF electoral gamesmanship ahead of her rally, as the ruling party scheduled several meetings in the constituency to hand over farming inputs and food aid, as a counter-attraction to stop people from going to Mujuru’s do.
A visibly-exasperated Mujuru accused Mugabe of turning the country into “a nation of beggars and abusing this for political gain”.
“When we were coming from Masvingo, we saw several groups of people at different places waiting to receive food handouts from Zanu PF, yet the party claims to have taken land,” she said.
“Mugabe talked about the $15 billion diamond theft, as if it was 15 cents that had been stolen. It seems as if it’s something that can be envied to give people food handouts. Zimbabweans do not take pride in being spoon-fed.”
Bikita West presents Mujuru’s party its first test in an election and could be used as a barometer to gauge how she is likely to perform in next year’s general elections.
Mujuru twisted the knife into her former boss further claiming the former guerilla leader had “sold out” and thrown out of the window the ideals that drove tens of thousands of Zimbabweans to fight colonialism.
“At independence, we thought we had removed oppression, which was mainly white rule. But now Mugabe has turned into the face of black oppression. He has disregarded the liberation war ethos,” she said.
“Mugabe only pretends to give importance to the war through talking. We all know how all saw how the treatment of war veterans changed over the years. They started saying lots of things about war veterans.”
Mujuru likened Mugabe to former Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin. Gopo is facing five other contestants, who include Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya, National Constitutional Assembly’s Madock Chivasa, Tanyaradzwa Terrence Makumbo of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe, two independent candidates, Heya Shoko and Innocent Muzvimbiri.
The seat fell vacant last year after Munyaradzi Kereke (Zanu PF) was slapped with a 10-year jail term for rape.