via MDC-T in plot to force early poll | The Herald March 24, 2015
MDC-T has roped in so-called progressive members of Zanu-PF in a shadowy committee organising meetings masked as National Convergence Conventions that will start in May planning protests meant to destabilise Zimbabwe.
Self-exiled musician Thomas Mapfumo is part of the committee that will host three meetings to plan the protests with the aim of forcing an early election before 2018.
A letter indicates that apart from what are described as “progressive” members of Zanu-PF, others invited to the meetings include members of political parties, civic society and churches.
MDC-T is on record courting Zanu-PF members who are accused of working with former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s putschist cabal that was angling to remove President Mugabe unconstitutionally.
Former MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, who is now an ordinary card-carrying member after losing his post at the party’s congress last year, recently told a rally in Kuwadzana that the party had approached former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Mr Didymus Mutasa to join them.
Mr Mutasa and his nephew Mr Temba Mliswa were recently expelled from Zanu-PF together with former Zanu-PF secretary for Information and Publicity Rugare Gumbo for spearheading the Mujuru cabal’s ambitions.
Several other Zanu-PF members were fired from Government for the same reasons.
Documents show that the first meeting of the destabilisation campaign was launched by Mapfumo at Denver University on February 19 this year. Another meeting is set for May 3 to 5 in Johannesburg.
“To avoid infiltration meant to cause disharmony, the National Conventions will be held on the backdrop of scheduled galas,” reads part of the letter written by the new advisor to MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Dr Maxwell Zeb Shumba, who took over from UK-based law lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa in 2013.
The letter was inviting concerned organisations to the meetings which will be preceded by musical galas aimed at marketing the mass protest concept.
“The galas will be the marketing and publicity headline of all scheduled events,” said Dr Shumba.
The second leg of the meetings is set for May 23 to 25 in Cincinnati, US, while dates for the final one dubbed the “final push” to be held in Zimbabwe were yet to be announced due to what Dr Shumba referred to as “security reasons”.
The committee organising the meetings is dubbed Zimbabwe First.
In the confidential letter, Dr Shumba said: “The members, who include the Zimbabwe First Ambassador, cultural icon Dr Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo, prominent human rights lawyers, pastors and other Zimbabwean reputable professionals domiciled in Zimbabwe, South Africa and USA have been working on the national convergence project since late December.”
Other committee members included Fundi Nzimande, Gabriel Shumba (Zimbabwe Exiles Forum), Dewa Mavhinga (Zimbabwe Civil Society Coalition), Tatenda Mavasa, Ms Primrose Ncube, Mrs Janet Munakamwe (all from Civil Society South Africa) and Rinos Mautsa (Youth Business Zimbabwe).
“Operationally, Zimbabwe First will function strictly as an under-the-radar campaign and will be led by a core team comprising a mixture of proven technical professionals, business people, civic society leaders, religious leaders and solid individuals who have recognised political acumen,” said Dr Shumba.
“Members of the strategy team will be derived from the entire Zimbabwe political, civic, religious and business spectrum and will substantially be the engine hub of the Zimbabwe First operations, dismantling the machinery currently in use in all Zimbabwean elections.”
According to the agenda of the South African meeting on the first day there would be cluster meetings focusing on a topic titled “Agenda-Zimbabwe” as guided by other thematic topics developed by the taskforce responsible for organising the meeting.
On the same day, there will be workshops for “Zimbabwe First” coordinators before a dinner in the evening with speeches by lined-up speakers yet to be announced.
The second day would focus on the resolutions of the convention collated by the convening taskforce and reading out of the roadmap towards a so-called “working Zimbabwe.”
The South African meeting would draft a document termed the “Johannesburg Declaration” that would be used in developing the programme for the US event.
Dr Shumba said in the letter: “Zimbabwe National Convention is earmarked as the main event which is expected to be attended by all Zimbabweans who are locally based and those from the Diaspora.
“The Zimbabwe Gala whose date is yet to be determined is expected to be the homecoming for all Zimbabwean internally and externally displaced. The Zimbabwe First National Convention is earmarked to be the unitary political force to provide the political impetus to push Zimbabwe towards providing a global solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.”
In the same letter, Dr Shumba said their main objective was to “push for a free and fair election before 2018.”
“It is the strategy designed to steer Zimbabwe on a roadmap to free and fair elections before 2018,” he said. “Zimbabwe First is fundamentally an agenda whose primary objective is to operationally drive Zimbabwe towards an early election which is free and fair.”
In pursuit of this objective, Dr Shumba said, they were mobilising Zimbabweans internally domiciled and diasporians to actively take part in the initiative.
“The Zimbabwe First concept was borne out of a process which involved an extensive analysis of the current political environment obtaining in Zimbabwe and after an objective review of past political failed processes which were mainly driven by Zimbabwean political opposition parties,” said Dr Shumba.
“In addition, our team did an outreach exercise to various stakeholders in and outside Zimbabwe in the months of December 2014 and January 2015. A key takeaway from the process was that Zimbabweans are ready now to forge unity and consider their country first before political partisanship. In response to this key observation we resolved to dedicate our efforts towards hosting a convention for truly unadulterated national unity of all political forces.”
Names of some of the invited organisations include Mavambo Dawn Kusile party, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, MDC Renewal proponents, ZAPU (tentative, waiting for a response from Dumiso Dabengwa, but other national party leaders are on board), Coalition of Civil Society, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and the so-called progressive members of Zanu-PF.