Sorry for helping President Robert Mugabe misrule Zimbabwe. That was the message that came from “People First” yesterday, as the group that counts former Vice-President Joice Mujuru as their leader apologised to the nation for contributing to the rot in the country during their days working with President Mugabe.
Rugare Gumbo, spokesperson of the group yesterday said they accepted responsibility for some of the actions of Zanu PF which were now hurting the nation and were ready to work with all democratic forces for a better Zimbabwe.
Gumbo’s statement comes in the wake of demands by political observers that the People First group takes responsibility for the crimes that their former party Zanu PF committed. That way, they said, the group would prove they had sincerely reformed from the ways of their old party.
“Yes, we have contributed to some of the things but we are ready to correct that,” said Gumbo.
“We must accept responsibility for some of the things in our society. Others like [Didymus] Mutasa have come out in the open to say that he did not know that the party leadership could be that cruel. We accept that and we understand it will take some time for people to appreciate that we accept change.”
“What is one centre of power? It’s nonsense. That is dictatorship? It means every decision is made by one person and that is what has made investment difficult. We said he is 91 years old and there is need to discuss the succession issue and they said all they said,” Gumbo said.
He said theirs was the original Zanu PF with real revolutionaries who participated in the liberation struggle, while describing the current crop, born out of the December congress, as the “Zanu PF 2014″, meant to destroy the revolutionary party “like real weevils.”
Gumbo, Mutasa, Mujuru and other officials have been battling to detach themselves from the Zanu PF regime and its policies that have contributed to the economic rot in the country.
“We have said People First is the slogan to differentiate ourselves from the Zanu PF of 2014. We consider ourselves the original and genuine Zanu PF formed in 1953 that spearheaded the struggle in Zambia and Mozambique,” Gumbo said.
He said there were leaders in Zanu PF (People First) who were initiated into the Dare ReChimurenga while others like Mugabe only joined later.
He said he was the only surviving member of the Dare ReChimurenga.
“This 2014 Zanu PF is led by Mafikizolos who were supporters of the Rhodesian regime. Some fled the war, so how do they become leaders of the politburo yet we were in the war including Mujuru, Mutasa and myself,” Gumbo added.
“We continue to say we must work with all democratic forces. Everyone should come together, including war veterans, trade unions, Tsvangirai, [Simba] Makoni, [Dumiso] Dabengwa, [Tendai] Biti. We need to work together and that’s the only way to get stability and confidence from the international community and local people who feel they cannot invest to drain their capital.”
Meanwhile, Gumbo said People First leaders will take part in this year’s Independence Day commemoration despite being elbowed out of Zanu PF recently.
Gumbo said although they felt hard done by recent events, they still placed huge importance to the day.
He said when they attend the celebration they will be honouring the gallant sons and daughters who sacrificed for the independence of Zimbabwe.
“We may not like what is happening but we are not going there for personality issues. Independence celebration is a major event in the country,” said Gumbo.
“More importantly, I think we still want to urge people to attend. What we are celebrating is not people or institutions, but we are celebrating the achievement of the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe such as Nikita Mangena, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo and quite a number of people who fought for Zimbabwe.”
Gumbo said there was a huge difference between the independence of 1980 and that of recent years, including that of 2015.
He said a lot had changed for the negative which should be corrected as soon as possible to save the country from “poor administration and corruption” by top government officials.
“In 1980 we were all united and independence was a new phenomenon and people were celebrating. There was excitement of a new country and the defeat of the oppression of the Rhodesian settlers,” he said.
“Now people are divided for a number of reasons. We no longer have the same vision, the leadership that was dynamic then is now tired and clueless. The economy has been devastated; there is hunger and poverty, poor service delivery among others. This year’s independence is going to be dismal,” Gumbo said.