First Lady's entry into politics has shaken Zanu PF to the core. Will she grab the throne?


As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.


He is a controversial prophet who continues to draw large crowds with his promise of miracles. But as his popularity soars he faces all sorts of allegations. So far he has survived.


Two secretary generals tried to topple him but failed. His wife walked out but returned home. Now MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is plotting his way to State House.


Latest news, entertainment and sports.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


A white Cleveland police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car and fired dozens of rounds at an unarmed black couple in 2012 was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter Saturday.

The verdict, which triggered minor protests, comes amid widespread tensions in the United States over police treatment of blacks following the deaths of a number of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Just a month ago, riots erupted in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Six officers have been charged.
Cleveland patrolman Michael Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who opened fire on Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during a police chase on November 29, 2012.
The couple's car had backfired as it drove past Cleveland police headquarters, and police thought the sound was a gunshot.

A total of 137 rounds were fired at the car, including 49 by Brelo. He shot the final 15 from the hood of Russell's Chevrolet Malibu. Judge John O'Donnell found Brelo not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter and also acquitted him of felonious assault.
Brelo had requested that a judge hear his case, not a jury of his peers.

O'Donnell said Brelo fired two shots that could have killed Williams and one shot that could have killed Russell, but the evidence did not meet the standard for voluntary manslaughter.
"Proof of voluntary manslaughter requires finding beyond a reasonable doubt," the judge said.

Brelo broke down in tears after the verdict was read out. O'Donnell acknowledged that the United States is grappling with recent incidents of alleged police brutality and racial profiling.
He however cautioned that no single case could resolve the problem.

"The suspicion and hostility between the police and the people won't be extirpated by a verdict in a single criminal case," O'Donnell said.

Prosecutors had argued that Brelo's final 15 shots from the hood of the car were unjustified because the pair was no longer able to flee the scene and therefore no longer posed a danger.

But defense lawyers argued that Brelo reasonably feared for his life.
Brelo's lawyer Patrick D'Angelo hailed the verdict, saying his client had withstood "threats and intimidation" from prosecutors during the month-long trial.

"We stood tall, we stood firm. We didn't do anything illegal," D'Angelo said. Small protests erupted in the midwestern US city after the verdict, with some demonstrators chanting "No justice, no peace" outside the courthouse.

"I'm going to tell you all something right now - we have no justice," Williams's cousin Renee Robinson told AFP.

Cleveland police said on Twitter that "multiple" arrests were made after demonstrators failed to disperse from at least two locations.

Brelo remains suspended without pay, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters.
Mayor Frank Jackson said an investigation into the other officers involved was ongoing.
"Now that the criminal court case has been concluded, the disciplinary process will resume for the remaining 14 officers that were involved either in the chase or the shooting," a somber Jackson told reporters.

"To date, we have disciplined officers in a range from termination, demotion and suspension without pay."

Jackson called for calm in Cleveland, where police stepped up patrols and were monitoring a band of up to 100 peaceful demonstrators.

"This is a moment that will define us as a city and will define us a people as we move forward and address issues around this verdict, and those that are coming in the near future," he said.

The US Justice Department said it was monitoring the case and could yet take action.
The case comes in the same city where Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy carrying a toy gun, was fatally shot by a white police officer in November at a playground, in an incident caught on surveillance video that shocked many Americans.


ABANDONED Bulawayo City council beer halls have been turned into sex rendezvous with sex workers using them for "short times", residents have complained.

 Council-owned Ingwebu Breweries has, over the years, been dogged by viability problems which forced the closure of 16 beer halls in several high density suburbs.

Some of the pubs which were closed include Manuwere beer garden in Mzilikazi, Elangeni in Tshabalala, Pumula beer hall and Sizinda beer.

Residents said naughty residents were taking advantage of lax security at the abandoned pubs to engage in nefarious sexual activities, especially during the night.
The premises are particularly popular with prostitutes who use them for "short time" romps with clients.

"On numerous occasions during the night, we have witnessed women in skimpy outfits accompanied by male counterparts entering these premises through secluded entrances," said a Tshabalala resident.

"We have also discovered used condoms within the vicinity of the building. What surprises us is that these properties are supposed to be guarded round the clock by armed municipal police but we hardly see any security personnel these days."

A resident of Sizinda, where one of the abandoned beer halls is located, claimed that school-going teenagers were also frequenting the closed outlets at night for sex.


ZIMBABWE will likely miss the June 17 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting, media analysts have warned.

With only about three weeks left before the deadline, there are frantic efforts to partially comply by digitising the three transmitter stations at the border areas. According to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), putting together the digitisation programme will cost over $125 million.
Digitisation is generally defined as broadcasting in digital format rather than the analogue which Zimbabwe has been using. The migration enables signals not to go across borders as spill overs or interfere with reception in neighbouring countries.

Digitisation will also result in the opening of the airwaves as digital broadcasting allows signals to be compressed and that potentially could give Zimbabwe up to 80 broadcasting channels, according to the ministry.

Misa-Zimbabwe broadcasting and ICT officer Koliwe Nyoni said digitisation would mean that families with old television sets that are not digital compliant will not be able to watch television unless they get set top boxes (decoders) specifically made to decode ZBC signals or channels.
“In simple terms, those with older television sets will not be able to access the reception unless they get set top boxes,” Nyoni said.

In the past week the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry told parliament that ZBC and Transmedia were working on immediately making three transmitter sites in Mutare, Kamativi and Nyanga digital compliant and households in the areas would receive set top boxes to allow them to watch Ztv.

Zimbabwe has a total of 24 transmitter sites across the country.
Nyoni said the development would result in Zimbabwe having two concurrent types of broadcasting — analogue and digital.

“The ministry is speaking of dual illumination, which means that some households will continue to receive analogue frequency while the three transmitter sites of Mutare, Kamativi and Nyanga will be digital,” she said.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Obert Magunyura has since made it public that they have entered into an agreement with a Chinese company, Huawei, for the sourcing of the digital broadcasting equipment and supply of top set boxes.

Media, Information Communication and Technology Parliamentary Portfolio Committee member Kindness Paradza said government confirmed the acquisition of the top set boxes.
“The government has acquired 400 000 top set boxes from Huawei which will be sold to households at $20 apiece for them to be able to receive ZBC signal,” Paradza said. 

However, it remains unclear how the licence fee regime will be implemented now that there would be two classes of the audience, those with digital reception and those who will remain on analogue until the whole country is digitised.

Nyoni said the government should come out clearly on these matters to the members of the public.
“The country remains in the dark as to what will happen. Will those remaining on analogue still be forced to pay for ZBC licences or will those who migrate to digital be asked to pay a monthly subscription, and if so, how much?” she asked.

The KMPG audit report on ZBC that also looked into digitisation says: “Conditional access will only allow pay TV for both ZBC and private broadcasters and the spectrum manager will collect subscriptions and remit them to the various broadcasters at the pre-agreed rates.”
It then suggested: “The $3 dollars [monthly] is a basic viewers’ fee for all viewers that entitles them to watch two basic ZBC channels.”

Nyoni however criticised the government for implementing the digitisation project without informing the general public on the processes. “In other countries like Mozambique, it had massive publicity and awareness campaigns to inform the public about the processes and what they should do if they have to continue receiving signals,” she said.

With slightly over three weeks before the migration, the Zimbabwean public has no idea what is happening as the government plods along without caring to communicate. It remains to be seen how smooth the crossover will be.

According to BAZ, the digitisation process will see the setting up of High Definition (HD) television studios, five radio transmission studios, six digital content production facilities, satellite signal distribution, six national FM transmission networks, as well as a conditional access system and subscriber management receiver control. standard


Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday lashed out at Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and the Harare provincial leadership for the chaos that rocked Harare East over election candidates in recent weeks.

Addressing campaign rallies in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa exonerated the fighting candidates, Terrence Mukupe and Mavis Gumbo of any wrong doing. In apparent reference to Kasukuwere and Chombo who were supporting rival candidates, the VP said the blame should be put squarely on the national leadership who had vested interests on who should be the MP for the area.

“Let me say this to you, there is no one, myself included, who has a pocket that can fit Zanu PF. Zanu PF will never fit in anyone’s pocket. It’s you who can fit in the pocket of Zanu PF,” Mnangagwa said.
“In Harare East there was Mukupe and Mavis Gumbo who contested against each other and we ended up having the two standing as Zanu PF candidates. It was not of their making but because of the national leaders who had their own motives and views to issues.”

He added: “When the issue was brought to us the party elders, we respected the wishes of the people, not the wishes of individuals and we supported the one who had won the elections.”
Until last week Chombo and Kasukuwere along with the Harare provincial leadership was at war on who should be the party’s candidate for Harare East between Mukupe and Gumbo.

Accusations and counter accusations flew between the two, with war veterans joining in the fray.
Chombo and the provincial team led by acting chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa backed Gumbo while Kasukuwere threw his weight behind Mukupe.

Before Mnangagwa intervened, war veterans took a stance against Mukupe and Kasukuwere claiming that the political commissar was working with Americans to topple Mugabe, a charge the Water and Climate minister denied, describing the veterans as drunkards and ordering them to shut up.
Mnangagwa had to intervene and ruled that Mukupe, who had won the party’s internal polls, was to represent Zanu PF and ordered Gumbo to withdraw.

The politburo also made a resolution supporting Mukupe who the provincial team had said was unknown in the party and had a questionable history. The Vice-President said Gumbo has since written a letter pledging her support to Zanu PF and Mukupe. He said nobody should question anyone if the party elevated her to some post in future because she had shown “respect and loyalty to the party”.

Mnangagwa did not end there. He said no party leader either at national or provincial level, should interfere with the operations of other party organs below them. They must wait to be briefed appropriately, he said.

“Even here I don’t interfere in Kasukuwere’s office. This is his territory, he is the one who has invited me and had he desired, he would not have allowed me to address you here. There is nothing that I was going to do because it is his office. I was going to deal with him when we are there at the politburo where I am his boss. But here, he is the boss,” Mnangagwa said.

He told the provincial leadership to organise party structures in Harare, saying they must ensure Zanu PF won all the six by-elections set for June 10 and increase its MPs from the current six to 12.

The by-elections were called after the MDC-T recalled MPs who ditched the Morgan Tsvangirai-led team to form a splitter group called the MDC Renewal under the leadership of Tendai Biti — the former MDC-T secretary-general.

The MDC formations are boycotting the elections demanding electoral reforms.
But Mnangagwa welcomed the boycott saying Tsvangirai should continue to boycott all future polls so that Zanu PF “can continue to rule without opposition”.

“Let those who are boycotting elections continue to do so and us we will continue to rule, we will increase our MPs in parliament. This is an opportunity that God has given you to repent and leave darkness which you had chosen,” he said.

Kasukuwere said Tsvangirai was also campaigning for Zanu PF in his “no election without reforms” rallies as he was singing Zanu PF songs.

“Yesterday [Friday] he [Tsvangirai] was in Dzivaresekwa where he said he is now singing Zanu PF songs such as Rambai Makashinga [continue to be strong]. This shows that he is Zanu PF, his wife is Zanu PF, the house he is living in belongs to Zanu PF, what do you expect from him,” Kasukuwere said.

Mnangagwa addressed rallies in Dzivaresekwa where Zanu PF will be represented by Omega Hungwe, Kambuzuma where Tinashe Maduza will represent the party against a few independents candidates, Highfield where Psychology Mazivisa will stand as the Zanu PF candidate and in Harare East where Mukupe will battle it out with little- known political parties and independents.
At least 16 by-elections are set to be held on June 10 with Zanu PF almost guaranteed of a clean sweep after the mainstream opposition withdrew its participation in the polls. standard


Zedi Feruzi, a leader of an opposition party, has been shot dead alongside his bodyguard in Bujumbura, a leading opposition figure has confirmed to Al Jazeera.

Feruzi, whose bloodied body was found in the Ngagara district of Bujumbura on Saturday evening, was the head of the opposition party Union for Peace and Development (UPD).
Leading opposition figure, Agathon Rwasa, said there was no information on who had killed Feruzi, but he had spoken out against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to stand for a third-term in office.

Residents said a third person, believed to be another police officer tasked with protecting Feruzi, was seriously injured in the incident. 

"We heard around 20 gunshots, everyone fell to the ground, people saw a Toyota car speeding away," said a neighbour, who did not witness the shooting himself.
Around an hour after the attack police had yet to arrive at the scene, according to the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile, two barricades of tyres were set alight in the district, where local youths were sealing off streets and alleyways to outsiders. Saturday's assassination will add to tensions in Burundi after a month of protests against President Nkurunziza.

A coup attempt to remove Nkurunziza by army officers opposed to his decision to contest the presidential vote failed after the intervention of loyal members of the military.
More than 20 people have died in anti-government protests since the president's announcement to stand in late April.


The Harare City Council has for three months failed to test effluent discharged into the capital’s drinking water sources and has instead “estimated” pollution levels and the amount of water treatment chemicals required to make it fit for human consumption.
The dangers are two-fold: residents could be exposed to improperly treated water, and the council could be wasting money as it does not really know what chemicals it should be using.

Regulations mandate the council to carry out regular checks on the types and amounts of waste entering Harare’s main water bodies, which include Lake Chivero and its tributaries.
This enables chemists to determine the quantities and varieties of chemicals required to treat the water before it is released for consumption.

Industries are permitted to release waste with an 80 percent strength factor.
However, minutes from the most recent full Harare council meeting show that Town House has not been following its own prescribed standards, and industries have been discharging effluent with a strength factor of up to 600 percent.

Contacted last week, water works director Engineer Christopher Zvobgo blamed the situation on a resources shortage.

“There was a shortage of vehicles. However, we have now bought new ones for the department and test the water at least once a month. So, that issue has now been rectified.”
The minutes show that the department only sampled 279 companies out of a possible 5 057 in March 2014, with indications that the bulk of industries might be dumping toxins.

Part of the minutes read: “The number of sampled companies is materially small (3,9) percent compared to the estimated potential of companies eligible for sampling.
“According to the chief chemist, for the month of March 2014, only 279 (of which 82 have closed shop) out of a possible 5 057 were sampled. Sampling of industrial effluent enables the city chemist to determine the level of toxicity of effluent discharged into the system. “The chief chemist attributed manpower and transport problems as inhibiting the sampling of a bigger fraction of effluent disposing companies.”

Harare — like Zimbabwe’s other major cities — has been grappling with water pollution, which has mostly been blamed on industries, filling stations and food outlets.
In 2014, Government directed companies to set up on-site treatment plants to minimise effluent that is eventually discharged into the sewer system.

However, the high costs involved saw most firms struggling to comply.
A survey by the Environmental Management Agency that year revealed that councils were, in fact, largely behind the pollution. Harare topped the list as it discharged 3 885 mega-litres of raw sewage into water sources daily, with Bulawayo the second largest polluter at 13 mega-litres per day. Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and Chegutu were also among the culprits.
EMA determined that raw sewage leaks through dilapidated pipe networks and flows directly into water sources.

Lake Chivero, Harare’s chief water source, is downstream of the capital, while Chitungwiza is within the Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Area. This means most sewer effluent from Harare and Chitungwiza ends up being reintroduced into the water sources.

The capital spends over US$3 million monthly on a cocktail of nine water treatment chemicals. An urban planning expert who preferred anonymity said council was being irresponsible by putting residents at risk.

“We are behaving like a village lunatic who dirties the well meant to provide water supplies to everyone. This means the cost of purifying the water will be very high. In fact, Harare has the highest cost of water purification process in the country.

“It is also possible that some chemicals from the effluent are left untreated because of the large chemical components from the sewage effluent.” sunday mail


Zanu-PF will not hesitate to discipline or expel members who operate outside its rules and guidelines because no one is bigger than the party, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Addressing hundreds of party supporters at Dzivarasekwa Stadium yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said Zanu-PF should take advantage of the split in MDC-T to win all vacant seats in Harare during the parliamentary by-elections set for June 10.

He said while MDC-T entertained splits, Zanu PF would not tolerate gross indiscipline within its ranks.“Isu tinodzinga kwete kubwashuka seMDC. Iye zvino, kwave nemaMDC anokwana matanhatu. Isu, Zanu-PF, tichingosimba, tichikura. Hatibwashuke seMDC, asi tinodzinga.’’
The VP implored Dzivaresekwa, Kuwadzana and Kambuzuma residents to vote for Zanu-PF candidates Cdes Omega Hungwe, Betty Kaseke and Tinashe Maduza respectively, to ensure development.

He said MDC-T was solely formed to bring back British supremacy to Zimbabwe and the electorate should not allow this to happen.

“MDC does not sit in Cabinet, which is the ruling body. As such, all the grievances you might give to the MDC leadership cannot reach us, as the MDC does not sit in Cabinet where decisions are made. It is, therefore, wise for all those in these constituencies to vote for those who are ruling as Tsvangirai will only listen to your grievances and throw them in the dust bin because he is not in Government.

“The MDC wants to see the British come back and loot our resources. God loves Zimbabwe under the leadership of Zanu-PF; that is why he intervened and we are witnessing these splits in MDC. This is a clear sign that MDC has no place to rule this country whatsoever.”
He added: “The roads here are in a bad state and there is a clinic that does not have medication and water, all because of the MDC-led council, which has failed the people. This is the time to free yourselves from all these problems on June 10, as you vote for the only party, Zanu-PF, that has the interests of the people at heart.’’

“I am happy those who lost the primary elections are here to support the winners. This is a clear sign that we are all Zanu-PF, united under one leader, President Robert Mugabe.’’
At the same rally, Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said June 10 should be remembered as the day the party reclaimed all vacant Harare seats.

In attendance were senior party officials, among them Minister Miriam Chikukwa (Harare Provincial Affairs), Zanu-PF secretary of finance Cde Charles Tawengwa and Central Committee member Cde Phillip Chiyangwa. sunday mail


I love my husband and he loves me too. We have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. We both go to church, I mean mainline churches.

My problem is my husband’s family is still tied to a lot of traditional rituals and beliefs, although, they claim to be devout Christians, amwene vanotove mai vebhachi ku church kwavo.

As a result of this there is a lot of the blame game within the family. Kunobikwa doro rekabisira (private) and so many other things. I am always threatened that misfortunes will befall my children because I don’t take part in these things. The reason why I have written you that is a few weeks ago we went to my husband’s rural home. There was yet another ritual, after this, each family was given some meat from mombe yakateurirwa yechirango.
I didn’t say anything when my husband put his share in our car. I made a vow that I and my children would never eat that meat, so tikabika tongopakurira baba chete ini nevana tosarudza umwe usavi.

Mai Chisamba, I have never seen my husband so cross, akapenga and wanted to know why. It’s against my religion and my family’s beliefs, I just won’t eat it.

I told my friend about this and she advised me to throw away this meat and replace it with meat from the supermarket so that angofare when he sees us eating together.
Mai Chisambai, I am scared to throw away this meat in case something happens to me and my kids. Please help what should I do? My husband is now saying I am looking down upon his family, ndiri kuzvipa class yepamusoro yandisina. He even phoned my ambuya mukadzi wehanzvadzi ya amai, we are yet to go and see her.

I really don’t understand the meaning of all this, is this not the devil at work? Please help me.
Thank you for reading my column and as I always say – it is very refreshing to hear about marriages that are happy and intact.
Congratulations try and maintain this. The problem is we have many people who still don’t understand what the Christian religion means and stands for. This religion is like a marriage, once you get into it you forget about all other rituals that have nothing to do with it. Your husband’s family should not mix these two; they have to decide to follow one.

I will repeat what I said last week: there is freedom of worship in Zimbabwe; no one should be forced into believing in what they don’t want to if they are majors.
For the benefit of some of our readers mombe yakadirwa imombe inenge yakapiwa basa rekuti imire semhunhu kuchengeta mhuri nemusha, pamwe vanenge vari sekuru, iyo inotopiwawo zita remufi.

This beast is treated with great respect just like the true grandfather. When time comes for the beast to be slaughtered certain rituals are done before people can consume the meat, so this is the point at issue.

I personally think your husband is overreacting. He must understand that this is not a Christian ritual and you don’t want to be dragged into this. Such rituals are very confusing; today this bull is sekuru, tomorrow it’s relish for a meal, ko ivo sekuru vanodyiwa here?

I suggest you calm down first and persuade your husband to talk to your priest or pastor about this. I think he is the best person for this. As far as I know, Christians havapire mudzimu kana kubika doro rekabisira. Who is fooling who? God sees everything. Why should your husband force the rest of the family to eat this meat?

Secondly I don’t agree with your friend’s suggestion of throwing this meat away and replacing it, that’s dishonesty. You should always be true to yourself that’s why we all have a conscience.

Issues are talked over. If you don’t correct this now it will always haunt your marriage. I hope your reason for not giving your children this meat is protection. Never do anything behind your spouse.

As a Christian you should not be moved by empty threats, God is the owner of the universe. You are always protected.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

If someone had suggested exactly twelve months ago that Joice Mujuru would be out in the modern-day Gonakudzingwa of Zimbabwean politics, ostracised and marooned in the political wilderness along with her allies, that person would most probably have attracted contemptuous laughter from many people.

She was the Vice President of the country, riding on the crest of a high political wave, and well on course, or so it seemed, to become the country’s next leader in the event of President Mugabe’s departure.

But in a frenetic period of less than four months, she was out of her job, battered, harassed and completely harangued and humiliated. The hunting pack was led by the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. It was uncouth and vicious. It was gross. And it was painful to watch. It was political molestation in a fashion that we had never witnessed before.

Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, would later describe the vicious attacks and verbal lynching as “political banter”. It was a shocking description of what had transpired. His must have a very macabre definition of banter because what the world saw and heard at the time was anything but banter in the normal sense of the word.

Four months after she was sacked at the country’s Vice President, she was expelled from the party. They chose one of the quietest periods of the year, just before Good Friday, when everyone was in holiday mood, the first after the Festive Season. It was during the quiet period they chose to announce the expulsion.

That was the official pronouncement, but in truth, by that date, Joice Mujuru’s shelf-life in Zanu PF had long expired.

In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Joice Mujuru’s Zanu PF career was burnt to ashes on the night of August 15 2011 at Alamein Farm in Beatrice, when her powerful husband, Retired General Solomon Mujuru met a horrible end in a highly suspicious fire incident. That tragic event left her exposed, alone and vulnerable. They might as well have called out checkmate on the political chessboard. The tears around her were the tears of a crocodile.

But many people have, since that inglorious fall at the Zanu PF Congress in December 2014, imagined that somehow Joice Mujuru would rise again and probably pose a serious political threat to President Mugabe and his would-be successors.

Indeed, the behaviour of senior Zanu PF politicians and the state media, encourages this kind of thinking. For if they are not attacking MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, their usual punching bag, they are attacking and denigrating Joice Mujuru and her allies. In this way, they betray their own fears over Joice Mujuru, believing that she somehow possesses the arsenal to hurt them.

For her part, apart from occasional defensive statements, Joice Mujuru has said little. This has left them unsure and confused. They don’t know what is going on in her mind. Does she have a strategy? Does her general silence mean she is scheming? They are not sure. It may well be that her silence is merely an indication of her own vulnerability. But they do not know that. So they must annihilate her.

But why has Mujuru remained largely silent, in the face of everything that has happened? Why has she not been bolder in the face of everything that she has faced in the last half-year? Does she really have a plan or is she simply clueles? There are various possibilities, which we explore in this article.

Forming a political party is hard
People underestimate the enormity of the task of forming a political party. It is a hard job. The easy bit is getting a few like-minded colleagues, dressed in suits or large African-print shirts and dresses, hiring a room in a city hotel and announcing to the press pack that you have resolved to form a political party, waving a bunch of papers and claiming to be committed to serve the people and triumph against an evil government. That is the easy bit.
Any group of well-meaning but deluded individuals can do that. In this internet age, some do not even care for the extra burden of hiring a room and convening a press conference. They just post their announcement on social media and overnight, they are the President and Secretary-General of a new political party.

But the truth on the ground is very different. You must penetrate the remotest parts of the country, establishing structures and selling your ideas and vision to a very sceptical, fearful, untrusting and politically battered and weary audience. Itis a hard job.

Zimbabwe is fortunate to have an alternative political organisation in the MDC, a truly national party formed many years after independence. Such a feat is hard to achieve. It will probably take another generation before a new political party of that magnitude is formed in Zimbabwe. As those who have left the MDC or Zanu PF have found out in recent years, forming a national political organisation is a hard shift. Joice Mujuru knows that. Her top allies know that too. She has been in politics for a very long time for that fact to escape her notice. The sheer size of the task of creating a third political organisation may be a deterrent.

Fear of Losing Benefits
Mujuru is a product of politics. Her wealth was built on the foundation of politics. Constitutionally, she is entitled to a full wage and benefits as if she were still the Vice President of the country. But she risks losing these benefits if she takes on new employment. This is new territory, and even if legally nothing precludes her from her entitlement while she is an opposition figure, she knows her rivals will still cut the flow of benefits if she officially declares herself a rival. It is a big risk.

But these legal benefits are probably the least of her worries. More worrying are the threats to her wealth amassed over the years, should she officially form her own political party. Mugabe has been less vindictive towards his long-time nemesis, Morgan Tsvangirai following the 2013 elections and this show of benevolence has surprised many people. There is no guarantee that he will be as civil towards Mujuru should she officially join the opposition ranks.

It is this fear of losing their wealth that has caused many who have been harshly treated by Zanu PF to continue to hang on without as much as a whimper. They just hope if they remain silent, and that if they slip away submissively, without too much noise, that they will be spared the wrath of Zanu PF and its leader. Mujuru might also have the same thinking, hoping, at the very least, to avoid the wors of her erstwhile comrades. This hope is likely to be misplaced, because eventually they will come after her.

Opposition is dangerous territory
Allied to the above point is the fact that Mujuru knows the danger that awaits them in opposition. They have been part of the machine that manufactures danger. They have intimate knowledge of the methods and techniques reserved for the opposition by their erstwhile comrades. They used to do the same things to Tsvangirai and others and they know it could well be their turn to receive the same treatment. This is a highly intimidating prospect and one must think long and hard before committing.

Rovering from shock
That Mujuru lost her position and power in Zanu PF was shocking enough. But no-one could have imagined the manner in which it was executed. It was brutal. It was political lynching, before the public gallery. It was humiliating and evoked pity, even among her critics. No person, least of all a Vice President deserved to be subjected to that kind of treatment.

But it happened and it must have left her emotionally pulverised and shattered. It is not easy to wake up the next morning and go on as if all is normal. One needs time to recover. It is to her credit that she maintained her composure and dignity in the face of extreme assault and provocation. But it is quite probable that she has been trying to recover from her very personal ordeal, especially at the hands of Grace Mugabe, who turned the screw relentlessly until she could scream no more.

She might have benefitted from having a partner. But with the General gone, she has alone and vulnerable. Instead, she has to deal with the many children allegedly authored by the General, some of whom are also throwing barbs of their own, claiming a stake in the late national hero’s vast estate.

Too Used to Zanu PF
From her youthful years, as a teenage guerrilla fighter in the war of independence, Mujuru has only ever known one political home. That home is Zanu PF.   From independence until December 2014, she had only ever known one job, as a minister of government. That was her life and that was her home. She knows no other life. Now, when you are used to one home, your ways are set and it is hard to thrive in an alien environment. You have to get used to it. You have to get used to a new life in the wilderness of the opposition.

This one-home syndrome means you over-rely on that single home and its culture. It is hard to think of anything else and you become scared, reluctant even to try new things. You want to stay in your comfort zone, because that is what you are used to. No wonder most of those who have been expelled from Zanu PF, including Mujuru herself, are often heard to say they are still Zanu PF or claim to be the “real Zanu PF”. In their minds they are Zanu PF and Zanu PF is them. They are inseparable from the organisation, even when it has spat them out. They cling to it.

The Hope to Return
Allied to the above is the ever-present, however remote and faith, hope of a return to Zanu PF. They all harbour that hope. Even Edgar Tekere, who left in the late eighties to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) harboured hopes of a return towards the end of his life. At some point he was even re-admitted until the move hit a glitch.  Those who faced the chop, like Frederick Shava after the Willowgate Scandal, bounced back and he now serves as a high level diplomat in New York, after a stint in China.

Jonathan Moyo, the current government spin-doctor and Zanu PF political strategist found himself in the political wilderness in 2005, in the aftermath of the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration but by 2008, he had achieved a remarkable political resurrection, sealed by his reappointment to his old post in 2013.

These stories of prodigal sons to lost their way but found a route back home are the kind of precedents that give Joice Mujuru and others hope that there is always a possibility of mounting a return to the only political home they know. It could be the existence of this possibility that prevents her and others of taking a completely new course.

Fear of Betrayal and Desertion
When Simba Makoni left Zanu PF and launched Mavambo in 2008, the story was that he had prominent heavyweights backing his bid for the presidency and that they would reveal themselves at the right time. This was promising and many people waited in hope. People waited and waited but no heavyweight emerged. They probably grew cold feet. Makoni went into the election alone, without the heavyweights. This is the problem with politics. The people you trust and rely upon let you down when you need them most. As long as people have something to hang on to, they will try to hold on and because people are by nature selfish, they will look after their interests first.

In 2013 Makoni deemed it strategic to throw what was left of his weight behind Tsvangirai.
This is why, even though from the moment they saw Rugare Gumbo and others getting fired and they all knew that they would meet the same fate, they still waited to be fired, instead of standing by their principles and defending their own. It will take all of them to get fired for them to realise that they have to stand together. If Mujuru had launched her bid two months ago, before the expulsion of the latest victims of the purge, these same people would have looked the other side and pretended things were fine as long as they were not affected.
This is the same reason why someone like Simon Khaya Moyo, who has been accused of being with the Mujuru faction and knows that he is not trusted has nevertheless been happy enough to be spokesperson of Zanu PF, even making pronouncements against his erstwhile comrades. He’s simply saving his own bacon.

Lack of a Plan
A big and more damning possibility is that Mujuru and her allies simply do not have a plan at this moment in time. It could be that they simply don’t know what to do. All too often we give a lot of credit to politicians, believing that they have great plans and strategies. We imagine that they cannot be utterly clueless. We think they must know what they are doing. It never occurs to us that their silence might actually be an indication not of any plan at all but that there is really no plan. And if they have no plan they can’t actually do anything.

A kinder and more generous view might be that Mujuru and her allies do have a plan but that in politics, timing is everything. You have to time your moves well. This perspective would acknowledge that Mugabe himself played an excellent game of political chess. For years, he played along with Mujuru and her allies. The death of General Mujuru removed the biggest protection and exposed the Queen. They waited to get over the hurdle of the 2013 elections and then pounced when the gains outweighed any potential losses. It was better for them to deal with the so-called rebels after than before the major elections.  Timing. Timing is key in politics, as with most things in life.

So a more benevolent interpretation is that Mujuru and her allies are awaiting the right time to launch a bid for power and to challenge their erstwhile comrades. An early move might expose them. Mugabe and Zanu PF were deliberate to launch the purge long before an election. If Mujuru starts now she might expose herself and get tired by the time 2018 arrives. They might think there will be better impact to launch not long before the elections. And yet, delay too long, it might leave her with too little time to organise any formidable challenge. If she has any intentions, then she has to strike the right balance, the balance between exposure to risk and exposure which would yield benefits.

The Future?
Will Mujuru launch a bid for leadership? The answer seemed obvious a few months ago. She had been wounded but there was a perception that she had support within Zanu PF. She had managed to organise the structures to her advantage. After all, nine out of 10 provincial chairpersons were sacked. A lot of Ministers were dismissed. MPs have been thrown out. Many others have been ditched. She probably had support. But her silence and lack of activity has begun to confuse and probably disillusion her allies. This is why the likes of Temba Mliswa, victims of the purge, are beginning to raise critical noises.

The more she remains silent, and the less she shows visibility, the more difficult and confusing it will become for her supporters. If she has a plan, then she has to communicate it. Zanu PF are gradually chipping them off, decimating them as time passes. In the end, she will be left exposed, not because she doesn’t have supporters but because her allies would have been disillusioned and dispirited. And when people get disillusioned, they disengage. This is the biggest risk that she and her main allies face – that people will lose confidence and disengage.

The people of Zimbabwe at this moment are waiting for leadership. They are dying for brave and selfless leaders who are prepared to make critical sacrifices; those who put the people’s interests first before their own.

But as I have said already, forming a new political party is a hard job. Mujuru’s best bet, indeed, Zimbabweans best bet, is a strategic alliance with the biggest opposition party at the moment and that party, as everyone knows, is the MDC. The large political characters all round will have to be prepared to make very important sacrifices.