LOCAL major political parties say they will not lose sleep over former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s high profile entry into opposition politics, which they have dominated for years.
Mujuru, the most senior among Zanu PF bigwigs who were dislodged from the ruling party last year for allegedly plotting a silent coup against Mugabe, recently registered her Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party which she went on to launch on Tuesday.
Judging by the response from diplomats, the media and ordinary Zimbabweans, there may be fears the country’s former number two could very well displace the main MDC party and its well supported splinter groups as the country’s most dominant opposition.
Mujuru’s “grand entry” into opposition territory is feared could easily chip away at the opposition’s support base and also trigger defections by some disgruntled opposition members.
However, the mood was to the contrary among the main opposition parties who feel ZPF, apart from being fierce competition, could very well summon its knowledge of Zanu PF to undo President Mugabe’s controversial rule.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party has been “tried and tested” since formation in 1999 and will not be outshined by Mujuru’s ZPF because of its “good performance” in the now defunct inclusive government.
“As our party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has already stated, we are willing and able to work and collaborate with any opposition political party that shares the same vision, values and ethos with us,” Gutu told NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.
“In this respect, therefore, we don’t perceive Joice Mujuru and her new political party as our political adversary.
“Our political adversary is the faction-ridden Zanu PF party that has ruined Zimbabwe’s economy through decades of unparalleled bad governance, thievery and rampant corruption.
“As the MDC, we welcome on board all opposition political parties that are genuinely determined to ensure that a new democratic and progressive nation state is created in Zimbabwe.”
Gutu’s comments were buttressed by yet another MDC-T loyalist and former minister Jameson Timba who wrote in a Facebook post “the launch of People First is a welcome development in our quest to build a plural and tolerant democratic culture in our country”.
“As a member of the MDC, I am heartened and humbled that some of our erstwhile political opponents have now signed up to the people’s democratic change project.
“It has taken time, but better late than never. One person one vote was the liberation war cry. So be it,” Timba said.
Similarly, Godern Moyo, secretary general with Tendai Biti’s PDP said his party also welcomed PDP into “the family of democracy campaigners”, adding they expected Mujuru’s entry to reinforce the opposition’s drawn out and painstaking bid to remove Zanu PF from power.
“We view ZPF as a critical actor in the opposition political society,” Moyo said.
“The majority of them were part of the coercive Zanu PF system. They know how filthy the system is, they know all the four corners of Mugabe’s Zanu PF, they know the mechanism of electoral corruption and electoral smithing.”
PDP comprises MDC-T politicians who left the party in 2014 to operate as a completely different group.
As a united party in 2008, the MDC-T won the first round of the presidential vote but failed to take power after the country’s partisan security forces immediately waged a war against perceived opposition supporters making it difficult to win the run-off poll which Tsvangirai had virtually in the bag.
Moyo said Mujuru’s entry will likely tame this constituency, a feat the opposition has failed to do.
“We expect them to have sympathies of the security establishment which has been acting as an anchor to Mugabe’s imperial presidency for the past three and a half decades. And they have liberation credentials up their sleeves,” he said.
“With these advantages, ZPF should compliment the work of democratic forces. While some of them are implicated in so many human rights violations, we believe that their new found political home to gather courage to explain to Zimbabweans the hollowness of Zanu PF rule.”
Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC has also said in past interviews with
NewZimbabwe.com they did not fear Mujuru.
“The MDC is not losing sleep over Zanu PF offshoots and cheap tactics since that will not affect our campaign for a new Zimbabwe.
“We are a powerful, lively and well-resourced political party with structures in every corner of Zimbabwe armed with a life changing program,” party spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said.