Mujuru bounces back

via Mujuru bounces back – The Zimbabwean 16.9.2015

Joice Mujuru’s nascent party, formed by victims of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) purge under the ‘People First’ banner, last week released its Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage Development (Build).

People First pledges a raft of changes, which include compensating dispossessed farmers, establishment of a commission for national healing, privatisation of parastatals, security sector reforms and introduction of investor-friendly policies. It is a crisply phrased and forthright document which, on paper, sounds beautiful.

Zanu (PF) DNA
If only life played out on newsprint, then we would all embrace and kiss each other on the streets in celebration of a new Zimbabwe. But things seldom work out that way in politics, especially not when pledges are made by those who have had ample opportunity to actualise several other promises.

The People First leadership comprises battle-hardened politicians in the form of Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Nicholas Goche, Francis Nhema, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Joice Mujuru, who is an actual living former combatant, as opposed to suit-and-tie war strategist who never cocked a gun but falsely claim gallantry. But we must not forget that these are the people who were tutored in the science of politics by none other than Mugabe himself. Many of them know where all the cadavers are buried – if they themselves did not bury a few.

Déjà vu
The PF manifesto could easily have been penned by any of the opposition parties, because its salient points are analogous to that which most pressure groups have been saying for a long time; allowing Diaspora vote, respecting property rights, setting up an anti-corruption commission, national healing, repealing oppressive media laws and ensuring impartiality of the military. The People First manifesto therefore begs the reasonable question – should we buy into the ‘people first’ claim, know full well that the DNA of Zanu (PF) runs through their arteries?

There are sceptics – cautious people – who are not convinced by the PF policy document. After all, what political party ever adhered to its manifesto! But at the same time, it has to be said one senses a buzz of expectancy among ordinary citizens.

In recent years, Zimbabwe has been steadily sinking deeper and deeper into crisis – 90% unemployment, electricity shortages and under-funded hospitals. A drowning man will scramble upon the nearest raft, without much concern about the identity of the oarsmen. Other than the collective wish for change among the masses, Mujuru has several attributes which have so far worked to her advantage.

Common foe
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so the saying goes. Mugabe’s popularity diminished long ago. At the last election where Zanu (PF) did not employ too much of its dirty tactics – 2008 – Mugabe was soundly beaten by Morgan Tsvangirai, before resorting to bloodshed in the ensuing run-off polls. In the constitutional referendum of February 2000, Zimbabweans voted against a draft constitution designed, in part, to strengthen Mugabe’s presidential powers, proving that the nation was tired of his leadership.

Millions have emigrated – over four million, it is estimated – preferring xenophobia, loneliness and bad weather to Mugabe’s rule.
Anyone who stands against Mugabe will naturally receive applause from a populace hungry for change.

Mugabe’s reign has been prolonged by myth – liberator, Karigamombe, smiter of the bull, most learned president in the world (never mind whether or not he displays the aptitude to apply his theoretical knowledge). Mujuru, through Zanu (PF)’s machinations, is also something of a mythical figure.

As a pubescent girl, she is said to have shot down an enemy helicopter in the liberation war. She married the country’s first post-independence army general. She overcame years of absence from school and, after coming out of the demobilisation centre, immediately enrolled into class, completed her O Levels and proceeded to upgrade her education to a proper PhD, whose provenance is unquestioned, whereas some earn doctorates in a matter of a few months.

When Grace Mugabe inveigled a PhD out of the compliant University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor, Mujuru’s verifiable doctorate only seemed to gain more lustre, much like when a supermodel with chest implants is juxtaposed against another with a God-given bosom.

The sympathy vote
Joice Mujuru lost her husband – a man who seemed to have the respect of many people – under very suspicious circumstances. Fires do not kill able-bodied ex-soldiers, in a house where the windows are only a foot high, especially not when, outside, a police detail is on guard.

Several government officials and prominent people have prematurely met their ancestors under equally baffling circumstances – convenient head-on collisions with army trucks, car bombs, improbable suicides and car tyre blow outs. So when Solomon Mujuru perished in an inferno, without a single guard coming to his rescue, naturally the hoi polloi raised a collective eyebrow.

Even when she was a member of the brutal Mugabe regime, Mujuru won over several people when she was seen showing genuine grief at the death of Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, in another vehicular collision whose authenticity still exercises the minds of most sceptics. Mujuru again showed compassion at the 2013 memorial of the Hwange coal miners who perished in the disaster of 1972. She is a widow and identified with those left husbandless by the mining catastrophe.

In October 2014, first lady Grace verbally attacked Mujuru, who she publicly accused of corruption, treason and immoral behaviour. For three straight months, Grace tore into Mujuru who, through it all, maintained her decorum. Grace’ husband joined in, adding witchcraft accusations to the catalogue of offences.

The louder Bob and Grace shouted, the quieter Mujuru remained and the higher her public approval ratings seemed to soar. When she finally emerged from her shell, her team had penned a well written policy document, a manifesto as it were. It has to be said, in her press release, she looks very presidential, seated as she is, at her broad desk, with the national flag as a backdrop.

Reality check
But putting all emotion aside, Mujuru’s People First has plenty of doubters to convince. The difficult question, which only time can answer, is what makes anybody assume Mugabe will surrender the presidency without the usual deceit synonymous with Zanu (PF)?
After 35 years in a corrupt, brutal and incompetent government, can Zimbabwe expect better leadership from People First? Can we look forward to seeing any of them surrendering their ill-gotten wealth to charity as penance? Why suddenly have the ordinary people become ‘first?’

The preamble of Mujuru’s Build document reads, ‘Zimbabwe belongs to all people who call it home, regardless of colour, creed…’  Ahead of the 2013 polls, Jabulani Sibanda, a staunch ally of Mujuru, said ‘the only good white man is a dead one.’ What strange magical wind has blown a fresh viewpoint into Sibanda’s eyes?

In 2014, before he was shot out of a cannon from Zanu (PF), Rugare Gumbo disparaged Tsvangirai’s claims of a coalition government proposition by Mugabe. ‘Tsvangirai’s proposal for another coalition is hogwash… as Zanu (PF) we have efficient policies and programmes and it is clear that the MDC-T has nothing,’ he said. Why has the MDC suddenly become Gumbo’s ally? After 35 years of economic demolition, can Joice suddenly BUILD?

I personally will keep an open mind but remain guided by the basic principle that people never change – except maybe just their socks and underwear. – Till next week, my pen is capped. Jerà


  • comment-avatar
    tsholofelo 7 years ago

    Well done Jera!!! Caution is needed. People should not throw it to the wind out of unnecessary excitement. People were overexcited in 1980 and voted these criminals into government. Now see what they have done!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    munhuwevhu 7 years ago

    Nicely penned there Jera. Spot on! Caution is warranted as we go forth indeed. A leopard never changes its spots…

  • comment-avatar
    Barabbas 7 years ago

    I Have said it before, forgiveness and redemption begins with confession….

    A lot of people have come out against Mujuru and her so called shift in position. And yes she has a lot more questions to answer, but more on that later. As Barabbas I understand more than most about second chances and that at the expense of the innocent. I understand that a period in the wilderness can clear the head and focus the instincts, I also know that experiences along the rocky road to Damascus can bring about wholesale change in a person. So this is what I propose, Let the “People First” people turn their manifesto into a legally binding contract with the people, one that is signed and witnessed by the people, one that the people can hold them accountable to. The “People First” should then come clean (and answer the questions) and tell all, if the Damascene experience is true, they will have nothing to fear and the people will forgive and look beyond.

    Now I personally like the idea of a contract with the people, I think if the contract is worth anything, then commemorative copies can be printed and sold to raise funds, and people can frame it and keep it as a record of their compact with the “People First”, and if it is infringed on, the people can take to the street waving their contracts demanding adherence (probably what the constitution should be).

    Now if the “People First” fail to confess and tell all, then I don’t think that the people should take them seriously. It shows that the “People First” are more afraid of ZPF than the forgiveness of the people – so herein lies the measure of the “People First”. I Challenge them, if sincere, I will be one of the first to buy my copy of the contract…

  • comment-avatar
    blackhammer 7 years ago

    She has got to try harder!

    Her grade right now is not even a U+. She might have been popular within the Zanu beauty contests but when it came to matters of State she did not achieve anything as minister and as vice president. Neither did Zanu as a party. Except, to accumulate. She has been on a roller coaster since independence and to fail in anything one has to try to do something and she did not try anything at all. She has been a passenger on this train of madness. Even as a comatose driver when the dear leader was on his never ending trips abroad she couldn’t think for herself. She has given a half-hearted apology for the chaos and madness the country has gone through during the past 35 years. One sentence. Less than two years ago when the honey was still flowing she declared, and I am paraphrasing, ‘Mugabe was anointed by God and anyone who is thinking of taking power from him is mad. Mugabe was send by God and so I would not think of taking over while he is still alive’. She definitely has got to try harder.

    Her apology has got to be a full page instead of a one liner. In it she could include among other things who was organising the violence against unarmed civilians. The fate of those who disappeared including the man in the current news, Itai Dzamara. We know she had already been shown the door at the time of his disappearance but Zanu has always had the same modus operandi. Some will say, typical criminals! And the rigging of the elections? Surely she couldn’t have been in coma as well? She has now declared she won’t take up her pensions which she is entitled to as a former vice president and this has hoodwinked some writers and commentators. They say, she has turned to a new page but I want pages of explanation. How many farms has she got? Zanu constitution says, ‘one man one farm’. Overall, what are her assets and how much is she worth and how did she accumulate it while she was busy running the affairs of the State? And she is registered as seriously disabled since the end of the war, we are told. After her husband’s mysterious death she was refused an independent autopsy on his remains. She was the vice president. What hope for us mere mortals? No doubt she can do better and should have done better.

    The MDC say they are a big tent and will accommodate anyone willing to fight for a just cause. There are few reasons to accommodate this toxic woman but please don’t divulge family secrets until she is completely clean. There are some who are wondering whether Tsvangirai, the so called dim wit, will accept to play second fiddle to her. What’s wrong with us? Someone steps on your toes and you are expected to apologise? What next? Ask Tsvangirai to apologise to the nation on her behalf? MDC should keep her at arm’s length and never ever hug her. She is covered all over with blood. Her own, from a bloody nose from Zanu and the nation’s state executed and the disappeared. Besides, given her record it won’t surprise anyone if she runs back to ‘mummy’, Mugabe, if she feels she has been forgiven. The bottom line is she can’t run a tuck shop, let alone a country like Zimbabwe. If this is our last hope, the whole nation needs a thorough head examination. What price appeasement? Some clever clog actually believes she can ‘provide answers’. God help us! Still, she got to try harder!

    Simon M Tozvireva.

    • comment-avatar
      Gomogranny 7 years ago

      Simon talks sense here. Jera too…a healthy dose of skepticism should hang like smoke around Amai Mujuru. The spots will not come off in the wash…ever.

  • comment-avatar

    Well said Jera. People need to exercise serious caution with these PF guys. We know their hearts & DNAs are pure zanu pf – so they are a zanu pf faction in every respect.

    If indeed, these people have had a genuine ‘Damascan’ moment, then why couldn’t they just join other opposition parties that have been in the trenches fighting Mugabe/zanu pf tranny for decades? If their Blueprint is indeed a true reflection of their newly found ideology of inclusiveness, democracy, freedom for all, sanctity of property rights, corruption-free society, etc., then nothing new in it & is in fact synonymous to what MDC has been preaching over the years.

    So, why not simply join them in the trenches? This is another indication that the PF people are driven by other motives & not what they articulate in the Blueprint. They are just trying to rope in people into their zanu pf factional war – and, yet they remain zanu pf in every respect.

  • comment-avatar
    grabmore 7 years ago

    Jera is masterful on paper. A joy to read.

    • comment-avatar
      Layan 7 years ago

      I continue to reject this people last movement with all the contempt it deserves go back to your party and demand your dues for all your contributions, massacres, looting,, conniving against an innocent populace you have no shame at all, is now people first because you need people again if you want to join MDC you will come as an unwanted visitor

  • comment-avatar
    Layan 7 years ago

    I reject this so called ‘people first’ movement with the impunity that it deserves. They ate while we starved, now they still want to keep on eating under the wings if MDC. If they want to join us they must be our juniors and confess all they did. MDC has always been a people first movement now these hypocrites want to hide behind a finger. Zvimwe hazviite. If you are a visitor you wait for the door to be opened and wait to be given your seat.

    • comment-avatar
      James Gray 7 years ago

      Yes taura zvako Layan. What can. Top on list of these monsters is N Goche. He was a ruthless ZANU PF enforcer. That’s how he rose to the top and looted. Todya he thinks there are other people in Zimbabwe. They must surrender the ill-gotten wealth first.