via Mujuru unveils party manifesto – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 8, 2015
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has unveiled her manifesto – setting the stage for the launch of the People First (PF) political party and a bare-knuckle fight with Zanu PF.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Yesterday, Mujuru all but plunged into the country’s political minefield with a blueprint that forms the foundation of her party.
Mujuru has been long linked to the People First, a movement of axed Zanu PF members, but kept her cards close to the chest.
In a policy document titled Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) to be released today, Mujuru said she has been hard at work since her last message in June and now she is sharing her vision for a better Zimbabwe.
“We are national democrats, guided by the values of the liberation struggle of self-determination, self-dignity, self-pride, expressed through the adoption of market-driven policies under a constitutional democracy, with the State acting as facilitator and regulator to allow for a level playing field and provide equal opportunities for all,” she said.
Mujuru added that under her stewardship, Zimbabwe would commit to upholding human and property rights in an envisaged government committed to the rule of law.
“Our fundamental premise is that all people are created equal under God,” she said.
“The law should, therefore, be applied equally to all citizens and offices in the land.”
The former VP said her policies are informed by “our desire and determination to see our nation move forward as a proud member of the community of nations, to create a just and equitable society and desire and determination to see our nation grow and create equal opportunities for all”.
Mujuru also punched holes into President Robert Mugabe’s most contentious land reform and indigenisation policies.
“A wholesale review of the Indigenisation Act will be effected,” she said.
“We shall emphasise economic empowerment that attracts investment and promotes the broad-based socio-economic infrastructure development objectives of BUILD.
“All persons who call Zimbabwe home shall be entitled to access land and participate in its sustainable utilisation.”
Mujuru said her envisaged government would establish a well-resourced Land Commission, with a mandate to rationalise existing farm sizes.
“We shall give immediate value to agricultural land by promoting a transparent land policy framework that attracts investment, creates, promotes and supports security of tenure and bankable leases,” she said.
Mujuru said unlike Mugabe’s current bloated Executive, her administration would be made up of “a small, but effective government structure” and an apolitical civil service in which the roles of “ministers, deputy ministers and heads of ministries are clearly defined”.
In the wake of a litany of government audits that have reportedly caused consternation and instability in the civil service, Mujuru said her government would “commission a biometric skills audit to inform a manpower planning and development strategy to ensure effective delivery, high morale and also link it to curriculum development in the education sector”.
She said her government would establish a think-tank to be called the “Presidential Economic and Advisory Centre for Excellence (PEACE)” which would be made up of experts from various sectors, to advise, assist, comment on and support government policy formulation, implementation and review.
The former Vice-President said under her leadership, government would repeal draconian legislation such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Public Order and Security Act.
“We shall ensure that government’s role is to facilitate, promote and regulate a level and sustainably stable economic playing field,” Zimbabwe’s first female Vice-President said.
Mujuru’s blueprint, which is likely to rival Mugabe’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), is extensively detailed and touches on all facets of Zimbabwean life, including water, sanitation, manufacturing, health, mining, tourism and conservation, environment and security as well as international relations.
“We shall enforce, promote and respect property rights and address historical compulsory acquisition through fair and transparent compensation,” she said.
Mugabe’s former deputy also promised a “compassionate, national and spiritual healing programme … addressing trauma emanating from pre and post-independence conflict,” something Zanu PF may find unpalatable.
Mujuru said her government would also amend the Electoral Act and fully fund commissions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to enable them to fully discharge their mandate as prescribed by the Constitution.
PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said all was now set for the launch of the political party, although he would not be drawn into disclosing the dates.
“We do not have a date as yet for the official launch of the party, but it is now very close. Just be patient, a little more,” Gumbo said.
Mujuru was fired from both her government and Zanu PF positions together with more than 140 other ruling party stalwarts last December on allegations of plotting Mugabe’s downfall. Since then, she has kept a low profile and has publicly denied the allegations levelled against her, challenging her detractors, including First Lady Grace Mugabe, to prove their claims in a court of law.
A few weeks ago, she rejected a government pension and retirement package offer, on the grounds that she did not want to be tied to anything linked to the Zanu PF government, which observers said was a telltale sign she was ready for a return to public life.