Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday threw the gauntlet at President Robert Mugabe, accusing her former mentor of wasting money on endless foreign trips at a time the majority of Zimbabweans were suffering due to his misrule.
Addressing her maiden rally in Harare, the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader said Zanu PF leaders were like fools who spent time and energy discussing immaterial things instead of working on turning around the economy.
This year alone, Mugabe has gobbled over $60 million on international travel even when the country was facing total economic collapse, as evidenced by the government’s failure to pay its workers on time.
In apparent reference to Mugabe, Mujuru said: “Our traveling this year should be limited because there is a lot of work to do for the people. You cannot be boarding airplanes always because there is a lot of work for people this year.”
“After a year you should take stock of what you have done for the people,” she said amid thunderous applause from thousands of her supporters gathered at an open area near Rainbow Towers hotel.
Mujuru said ZimPF was taking off at a fast pace, adding many people were disgruntled by Zanu PF’s failure to tackle important issues.
“From the day we started, it was like we lit a matchstick at a gas station. Everyone was waiting for the formation of a party which is all inclusive even to those who were not interested in politics,” Mugabe’s former deputy said.
“When people heard there was a political party called People First they were saying ‘Mai Mujuru we were blaming ourselves asking what we were doing [in Zanu PF] when madzana mbwanana achitambwa nemazidinga aya’ [fools were playing with people’s lives],” she said.
Mujuru described her party as an all-inclusive democratic movement which had the energy to work for the people.
The former Mount Darwin MP was accompanied by ZimPF elders, among them Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.
Officials from the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party among them Willas Madzimure and Jacob Mafume, also attended the rally.
Mujuru said they were working towards restoring Zimbabwe’s lost glory.
“We are national democrats and we believe in putting people’s interests first ahead of everything,” she said.
“We are Zimbabweans who seek to restore the dignity, economic, political and social emancipation of all people who sacrificed their lives for all to achieve political independence without discrimination or dehumanisation.
“We are ready to work with those who respect the values of the Zimbabwean people as they exercise their right to freely choose without fear or cohesion in order to achieve our total peace, democracy and prosperity for all.”
Mujuru said she went through a traumatising time when Zanu PF leaders were propagating lies against her including calling her all sorts of names.
She said police were yet to question her about alleged corruption almost two years after First Lady Grace Mugabe threatened to expose her.
“Up to today we haven’t gone to jail or been summoned by police. Even in the roadblocks, we go through them especially when I go to the farm but we haven’t been told to stop and go to jail,” Mujuru said. We said let’s keep silent. They can’t open a docket for keeping silent.”
She added: “I want to come in the open and thank the people on the support and prayers.
“They were trying times and it was very traumatizing but your support, your prayers were truly amazing. May God bless you.”
She added: “Today I stand to tell you the truth. Everything said about me was a lie. Those who were used to create the lies have now come in the open and revealed how they were abused.
“No lie can lie forever,” she said adding that she was speaking on behalf of other Zanu PF officials that were expelled from the party for allegedly supporting her plot to overthrow Mugabe.
Mujuru said she differed with Mugabe and others in Zanu PF on how to tackle problems facing the country hence her expulsion.
She accused Zanu PF leaders of lacking the zeal to work for the people as they sought to only enrich themselves.
“Some of us wanted people’s views to be pronounced in the party. We knew that in the party we said (iwe neni tine basa) but where is it now,” Mujuru said.
“Our position was always put people first. If you fought for people to be free they should be free. Our colleagues were not willing hence the expulsion.
“Will that be painful that we have been expelled because we have a mentality of going back to the people,” she added, accusing Zanu PF leaders of being self-centred.
Mujuru said ZimPF was not an extension of Zanu PF or a proxy of anyone and vowed never to return to the ruling party. Standard