HARARE – Former vice President Joice Mujuru, who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), says the country’s mooted grand coalition — which is set to be in place this year — will bring to an end President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s long rule.
In her State of the nation address on Friday, Mujuru also described 2016 as having been a “bleak” year, laying the blame for this squarely on Mugabe and his Zanu PF Cabinet team, which the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News ranked last week as the worst ever in the country’s history.
Mujuru, who was ruthlessly purged from the warring Zanu PF in late 2014, together with her close allies who included liberation stalwarts such as Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa — on untested claims of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe — also assured Zimbabweans that the mooted opposition alliance would be in place by the end of 2017.
“My fellow citizens and countrymen, the Zanu PF government has failed. It has shown that it lacks the commitment to implement programmes that better the generality of our people.
“We agree with the sentiments which we gathered from the interactive discussions we had with the people during our nation-wide tour. Your message was loud and clear, that it’s time for Mugabe to leave office,” Mujuru said.
“We also take heed of your strong conviction for the need that opposition parties should form a grand coalition to effect change in the regime and bring about a new way that puts people first.
“As ZPF, we believe a grand coalition should not only quantify votes, but should bring our people together. It should be a process capable of fostering convergence and national healing. A process of such magnitude should also be people-driven and guided by the need to build like-minded synergies among various stakeholders,” she added.
Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been working behind the scenes to form an electoral pact which includes some of the smaller political outfits.
Sources close to the ongoing coalition confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that there was now “an agreement in principle” between Mujuru and Tsvangirai about the two working together — with talks with another opposition leader, Welshman Ncube apparently set to be concluded soon.
“We are of the idea that the process of building the coalition should be an all-inclusive process that is not only limited to political actors, but one which would include private citizens, the churches, civic bodies, student movements and any other interested stakeholders genuinely committed to the democratisation of our politics and the holding of free and fair elections.
“After touring the country’s 10 provinces, we are more than convinced that the people of this great nation want change and they are ready for it.
“The people in the Diaspora want change in order to come back home to their families and friends, and also to help their country.
“Fellow citizens, we need a renewal of our minds, a change, and a vast paradigm shift in the way we do things. In order for this change to be realised, we need a fresh leadership with the will to work for the betterment of our people.
“We need a leadership with the craft competency to effect a turnaround that we desire, a leadership with a clear vision of making our country a first world,” Mujuru said further in her Friday address.
Tsvangirai and Mujuru are part of the 18 opposition parties which have coalesced under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), and which has recently scored a psychological victory by forcing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to include them in committees tasked with working on the 2018 election preparatory works.
Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule — especially at this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.
Since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him in the streets of Gweru in August last year — in a rare public display of unity among the opposition — there have been growing calls by fed up citizens for the formation of a grand opposition alliance. – Daily News