Former Vice President Joice Mujuru on Tuesday appeared in public for the first time since her expulsion from Zanu PF last year and told a news conference that she was ready to deliver political change in Zimbabwe.
Addressing a news conference in Harare, Mrs. Mujuru, who is leading the newly-formed Zimbabwe People First party on an interim basis, said she was ready to get Zimbabwe out of its social, economic and political problems.
The former vice president said a coalition to unseat President Robert Mugabe’s government was necessary. However, she noted that negotiations with other opposition parties were yet to start.
Mrs. Mujuru’s remarks confirmed earlier assertions by former Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change party who told reporters last month that the coalition talks were yet to begin.
She also called for key democratic reforms to be implemented ahead of the 2018 polls to ensure that the elections do not breed a pre-determined outcome. She, however, fell short of saying the 2013 polls were rigged by President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, adding that policies that scare away investors such as the black economic empowerment law should be reviewed.
The former vice president said she would work flat out to ensure that Zimbabwe rejoins the Commonwealth.
Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth in 2002 after it was accused of election rigging and rights violations.
Mrs. Mujuru further said a steering committee has been set up to spearhead People First’s inaugural elective congress that would be held on a date yet to advised.
The former vice president, who was accused of corruption and plotting to assassinate Mr. Mugabe, said her hands were clean hence the police have not arrested her.
Asked by one journalist of her relationship with Mr. Mugabe following her expulsion from both Zanu PF and government, Mrs. Mujuru said her business is to focus on key national developmental issues than to talk about other people.
She added that if Mr. Mugabe, who turned 92 last month was to come face to face with her, she doubted if the nonagenarian leader would recall what he said when he called her a witch.
Upon getting out of the hotel where she addressed journalists, Mrs. Mujuru was surprised to see hundreds of her supporters singing outside.
Mrs. Mujuru then told her loyalists that she would work hard to uplift their standard of living and called for an end to politically-motivated violence in Zimbabwe.
One of her supporters, Nester Chikowore of Harare’s Budiriro high-density suburb said she was happy that the former vice president had formally joined opposition politics.
Chikowore hoped that Mrs. Mujuru – as a woman- would advance the interests of women if she is elected president in 2018. She, however, urged Mrs. Mujuru to form a coalition with other opposition parties in order to increase the opposition’s chances of winning elections in 2018.
Another youth, Christelle Kanoshambira, who supports Mrs. Mujuru said she also expects her leader to push for the creation of jobs if she becomes president one day.
Diplomats and other notable political figures such as Didymas Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Ibbo Mandaza, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Bright Matonga, Sylvester Nguni, Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, and Pearson Mungofa attended Mrs. Mujuru’s press conference.
Zanu PF Central Committee member, Joseph Tshuma told VOA Studio 7 they are ready to tackle Zimbabwe People First.