Good grief! The Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) is being hit by outrageous defections as dozens of its members renounce their membership. ZANU- PF has been the ruling party in Zimbabwe since 1980 when Zimbabwe gained independence. Notably, Robert Mugabe led the party first as prime minister with the Zimbabwe African National Union and then as President from 1988 till date after amalgamation with the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and retaining the ZANU-PF.
Reports say that dozens of ZANU-PF party cadres have joined Mujuru’s People First Movement Party. Joice Mujuru is Zimbabwe’s former vice president from 2004 to 2014 under ZANU-PF. The veteran politician served as a government minister for years from the inception of Zimbabwe’s independence. It would be recalled that in 2014, Mujuru was shown the exit door in ZANU-PF for allegedly plotting against Robert Mugabe. She was finally expelled from the party and with her expulsion she lost her post as the party’s vice president.
Meanwhile, ZANU-PF has expressed worries following an outrageous and tremendous move to the People First Movement by scores of its party stalwarts especially in Mashonaland East.
Reacting to the issue, ZANU-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo describes the recent switch of ZANU-PF party regional officials and ordinary members to the People First Movement as ostensibly inessential.
“They can go where ever they want to go. Zanu PF is massive party and will not be affected by such sideshows. We are the governing party, not an opposition movement.
“Those who no longer want to work with us know that they have to communicate with their provincial leadership by writing to them,” Khaya Moyo told the Daily News.
However, Khaya Moyo ridiculously described Mujuru’s project as “a mere myth”, maintaining that he doesn’t know Mushayi even.
“I don’t know anything about People First. The only party there is in the country is Zanu PF, the ruling party. So how do you defect to a project?
“My advice to the so-called officials, if they exist in the first place, is that they should write to their provincial executives stating their position. We allow that in Zanu PF because that is democracy where divergence of opinion is tolerated. They are free to leave the organisation and they know the channel,” Moyo said.
However, Daily News said it was reliably informed that about 22 current and former ruling party officials from Mashonaland East attended a People First meeting in Goromonzi last weekend that was addressed by one of the project’s senior officials. Mushayi reportedly affirmed that the new party’s weekend get-together would take place. He was also spotted taking part in the meeting and coordinating the party’s activities in Chikomba Central.
“People are angry with the way she and all of us were treated because nobody was given time to state their case.
“This led people to conclude that they needed an alternative party which could usher in the kind of democracy that they have been yearning for, for a long time now,” he said, adding though that they had not started to hold public meetings.
“Although we have not started serious mobilization yet, it is clear from what we are seeing and hearing from people that they are ready for Mai Mujuru.
“They see her as the solution to the many economic and political challenges that the country is facing and they are coming in their hundreds to ask for information about People First”.
Also, Mashonaland East provincial executive member Bonny Mutize and former ruling party national youth league political commissar John Mushayi are already on the move. Rumours around said that the new party is to be called Zimbabwe African National Union – People First (Zanu-PF). Reports said that MDC-T councilors in Harare have also shown their interest in joining the new party. One of the party officials said
“Various political parties are losing their members to us and there have been many big wigs who have joined PF since then”.
Reacting to Moyo’s comment, former Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti accused ZANU-PF of denying the very obvious. He maintained that ZANU-PF would be “in for a rude awakening soon because there is no more Zanu PF to talk about”.
“Zanu PF is finished because it is no longer the mass party that it used to be as the mass followed Mujuru and other comrades.
“The few who are still there are hanging on because they are probably related to Gushungo (Mugabe), otherwise there is no party to talk about currently and more are still coming.
“That People First is a reality is no longer news because it is everywhere and people talk about it at funerals and in beerhalls, in towns and in rural areas. What could be newsworthy is when you get to a place in the country where there is no People First,” Bhasikiti said.
It would be recalled that last year, reports said that a group allegedly connected to Mujuru produced a “work-in-progress” document which covered its plans and vision under her leadership. Also, the 60-year old campaigner came up with a manifesto, titled Build, which was well received by her supporters who agreeed that it would go along way in addressing certain issues in the country. Calls were also made by the group for collective inputs from interested members in order to establish a standard and formidable party.
Didymus Mutasa, who is Mujuru’s accomplice vehemently said that the new Zanu-PF would remove Mugabe from power and “unshackle Zimbabweans from their current chains of servitude”.
However, while Mujuru has drawn many supporters to her side, many still think that she is yet to exhibit her political prowess and her ability to build a formidable mass movement that would earn her political votes.