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Zimbabweans Speak Out on Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First Party

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Zimbabwe's former vice president Joice Mujuru smiles while addressing supporters in Harare, March 1, 2016.

Zimbabwe's former vice president Joice Mujuru smiles while addressing supporters in Harare, March 1, 2016.

The launch of the Zimbabwe People First party by former Vice President Joice Mujuru in Harare on Tuesday has been met with mixed reactions.

Several Harare residents, who spoke to Studio 7, said Mrs. Mujuru has to work hard if her new party wants to dislodge Zanu PF from power in the 2018 national elections.

Beven Chihuri of Mabvuku said indications are that Mrs. Mujuru has what it takes to wrestle power from President Robert Mugabe come elections.

This was echoed Westgate resident, Kudzanai Musenha. He said Mrs. Mujuru, who has been in government since independence in 1980, commands the respect of the military that has openly said it would not salute any leader without liberation war credentials – in apparent reference to former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai leading the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

After launching the Zimbabwe People First party yesterday, one of Mrs. Mujuru’s supporters, Patience Madzima, said the former deputy president is the only person – at least in her view – that can guarantee stability in the country if Zanu PF was defeated in elections.

Another Harare resident, Edgar Gweshe, said Mrs. Mujuru has to come out clean over her involvement in government with regards to alleged election rigging and human rights violations if she was to get considerable support from Zimbabweans enough to win against Mr. Mugabe and his party.

Political commentator and director of the Coalition Against Corruption, Terry Mutsvangwa, said Mrs. Mujuru missed an opportunity to cleanse herself yesterday when she formally announced the formation of her party, adding that this would be her biggest undoing in the upcoming polls.

Zanu PF has over the years been linked to serious human rights violations including atrocities committed by the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the 1980s.

Some Zimbabweans also believe that the former vice president does not have the power to single-handedly remove Mr. Mugabe from power.

Barnabas Thondlala, editor of The Observer newspaper, said Mrs. Mujuru should therefore join forces with Tsvangirai in order to increase the opposition’s chances of winning in 2018.

Some observers say opposition parties should start coalition negotiations in time for the elections in order to prepare the electorate for the polls.