Zimbabwe’s Only Hope For Redemption: Demystifying The People First Movement

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By Setfree N Mafukidze

Columnists Note: It is indeed a great honour to be allowed space on this publication to demystify the myths surrounding the popular and celebrated People First Movement.

To start with I must point out that the idea to come up with an alternative political force in Zimbabwe came up as a result of  the unconstitutional purging of party members in the post December  2014 elective congress of Zanu-PF.

As given by the Zanu-PF constitution then, the congress held at that time was meant to elect the party’s leadership and as a result of the continued growth in popularity of the then Vice President Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru was clearly identified as a threat to the continued hold on to power by President Robert Mugabe leading to Vice-President Mujuru being accused of plotting to topple the President through witchcraft and assassination plots which up to this day one year later have not been substantiated .

This led to Dr Joice Mujuru’s ouster from the ruling party alongside several senior party officials viewed to be sympathetic to her.

It is against this background that an idea to challenge President Mugabe and Zanu-PF was mooted,taking into consideration the effects of Zanu-PF misrule on the nation had become alarming. Of course Dr Mujuru and others had been part of the same party and government for over 3 decades, but clearly saw things differently as evidenced by her ouster from Zanu-PF.

What many people may have failed to comprehend, or may have deliberately ignored, is that Dr Mujuru’s ouster is a result of her endeavour to transform ZANU PF from a personality centred party into a people centred party. She was initiating an inclusive approach within ZANU PF and the country at large, as evidenced by her refusal to overly castigate the opposition during the GNU and her overtures to engage the foreign diplomats to try and re-engage and bring back Zimbabwe to the membership of the League of Nations.This is what in essence irked Mugabe and resulted in her expulsion.

The People First Movement came up as a result of the People calling on Dr Mujuru to lead the masses out of the continued suffering that had been brought about through Zanu-PF misrule.
Over the past year recruitment and mobilisation has taken off with a seemingly overwhelming response.

At first one would have assumed those purged from Zanu-PF were the only people interested in creating a new political home but the outcome has proved that even those in other opposition parties were joining in numbers. Mobilisation of a support base which is still ongoing for the People First Movement clearly indicates the desire by the masses to work towards a people oriented party that will centre on assuring the demands of the people are put ahead of those of the leadership .

The obvious question would now be why should people support this new political outfit?

On the 8th of September 2015 Dr Joice Mujuru shared the Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development ( BUILD ). The blueprint is a proposal of a vision on how to bring a better Zimbabwe for all Zimbabweans. It may be pointed out that the Blueprint is not a policy document but a precursor to the real policy document, yet to be presented.
Covered under BUILD are important clusters namely

1.Constitutionalism
2 . Economic
3.Infrastructure
4 . International and National Security
5 . Social

Under these clusters they are several advancements that are meant to turn around the fortunes of our country and which are highly practical which include Manufacturing sector,Mining sector,Parastatal,Agriculture, Civil service and many other areas noted as requiring government attention to restore sanity in the country.

But why is Dr Mujuru the preferred candidate to depose Mugabe and takeover the reigns in 2018? What does she have that other opposition leaders, who have tried ever since don’t possess?

Here is an analysis of her credibility over other candidates.

1) Dr Mujuru is a liberation icon of note, whose record is impeccable and no one can soil it no matter how they try. Tsvangirai may have trumped Mugabe in 2008 but his disadvantage was mainly the lack of liberation credentials and it messed up his potential to assume power. Given the history of our country, the liberation badge stands to matter seriously in any power takeover. Our populace, especially the rural folk are very conversant of the experiences and the processes of this country’s sacrifices made by their sons and daughters to free them from the colonial york, that they would not sacrifice it to a liberation non-entity at this stage.
Dr Mujuru meets this requirement, and has the respect of the security sector, and the support thereof.

2) Dr Mujuru has worked hard since her entrance into government, to upgrade herself academically and intellectually till she acquired her doctorate in 2014, a qualification aptly necessary for the office of the president.

3) Dr Mujuru has been in government and knows the intricacies of office bearing, procedure, protocol and etiquette. Since she entered government as the youngest ever Minister and Member of Parliament at 25 in 1980, to the time she was purged, having spent ten years of it as VP, she has learnt the ropes of governance and how it operates. She will immediately settle down into office without having to be hand held and shown the ropes of governance.

4) Dr Mujuru has the support and adoration of the citizenry, both from the ruling party, the opposition and the  non-aligned members of society.  She is in the hearts of many a Zimbabwean and can score points over her rival contenders. She has always acted as a unifier, God fearing and has never castigated anyone, be they ZANU PF or opposition.

5) Dr Mujuru is a mother, who understands the pain of parenthood, suffering and family life, which resonates well with the populace. She is compassionate, level headed and calculative in both her speech and her action. She is a good listener, who takes time to hear the other side before making any decision.

6) Dr Mujuru has always had an open heart- open mind approach, and has never sought to isolate the country from the global village by targeting a certain race, region or country, even though she had to endure the autocratic imposition of disastrous policies by her former boss. She has always believed, not in fighting those in disagreement with the country’s interests, but in dialogue and convergence of common interests and to agree to disagree on those interests detrimental to Zimbabwe’s progression and livelihood. She has always believed in engagement with both the east and the west for the benefit of the country while protecting the Zimbabwean economy and ensuring benefication from our resources and inclusive participation as espoused in the blueprint. Locally she is a good listener and gives an ear to people of all parties and society.

It is therefore, based on the above, plus the blueprint she unveiled, safe to conclude that in Dr Mujuru as leader of People First the country has at it’s behest, the most formidable and qualified torch bearer for our country for 2018 to land the presidential seat for 2018.

Having said this it should be noted that the People First Movement considers the People the biggest resource and as such the very same citizens are free to add flesh to the already existing BUILD document for the purpose of improving livelihood within Zimbabwe.

Supporting the People First Movement means one accepts the need for reforming our country and remove it from the quagmire it is in.The party is open to all races,tribes as equal members of our society who all deserve to benefit from our  national and natural resources.

A political analyst and social commentator, Comrade Setfree N Mafukidze is a young Zimbabwean leader, a former member of Zanu PF, who is passionately committed to reforming and resurrecting the nation of Zimbabwe. He writes in his personal capacity.

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