By Sij Ncube
HARARE, September, 09, 2015 – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru has unveiled her proposed party manifesto a development analyst say indicates she is slowly but surely coming out of self-imposed political hibernation to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s hegemony.
Mugabe fired Mujuru from Zanu (PF) and his government after the party’s December 2014 congress together with several other former party bigwigs, accusing them of plotting to kill him as well as oust his from power.
Among those fired with Mujuru included former Zanu (PF) secretary for administration Dydimus Mutasa and former party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, two politicians that for the past nine months been fronting for Mujuru in their individual capacities as her spokesperson.
But in a rare show of bravery, it emerged Mujuru and her associates have cobbled up a manifesto as they move to challenge the Zanu (PF) leader head-on at a time Mugabe’s opponents perceive the 91-year as being at his weakest since independence from Britain in 1980.
Analysts are agreed Mujuru and her comrades in arms are finally showing their hand politically.
In a policy document titled Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) expected to be official before the end of the week, Mujuru said she has been hard at work since her last message in June and now she is sharing her vision for a better Zimbabwe.
She said her government would establish a think-tank to be called the “Presidential Economic and Advisory Centre for Excellence (PEACE)” which would be made up of experts from various sectors, to advise, assist, comment on and support government policy formulation, implementation and review.
The former Vice-President said under her leadership, government would repeal draconian legislation such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Public Order and Security Act.
But Rashweat Mukundu, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says barring the shortcomings of the manifesto, the mere fact that she has released it shows that she is seriously about taking on Mugabe.
“The manifesto is lacking in detail and rather pedestrian but one can only say its game on. She must prepare for the whole (Zanu PF) machinery descending on her like a pile of bricks,” said Mukundu.
Gladys Hlatywayo, a Harare political analyst, believes Mujuru and her coterie are carefully calculating their moves.
She said the release of the BUILD manifesto is a clear statement of intent and begins the process of reassuring her supporters who had begun viewing her as a coward.
“The manifesto is an elaborate one and one that seeks to push the idea of a democratic developmental state. The manifesto in my view is pragmatic. It is a departure from the Zanu(PF) policies as it seeks far reaching democratic reforms including full implementation of the new constitution, well-resourced independent commissions, protecting property rights, diaspora vote, dual-citizenship among others,” said Hlatywayo.
The manifesto also seeks to attract investments and institute neo-liberal economic policies expected to see the government playing a facilitator role, a small and effective civil service and privatization of parastatals.
“But the real test however will be in the implementation of these ideas,” she added.
Dumisani Nkomo, a political analyst based in Bulawayo, said while the manifesto looks good on paper, it is the ability to deliver which is worrying.
“However, it offers a refreshing alternative to Zanu PF especially around indigenization and land. Her economic blue print (BUILD) appears to be a sound preposition,” said Nkomo.
Tawanda Chimhini, the director of Elections Resources Centre, says like with all manifestos every effort was made to make it exhaustive.
“In my view it captures the inadequacies of the currently being implemented policy. However it must be noted that it’s early release ahead of all others specifically looking at the 2018 elections has the effect of making every other manifesto that follows a response to this one.
“It will be interesting to understand how this will be implemented. The issues touched on in BUILD resonate with a considerable number of Zimbabweans considering perception surveys that have in the past been released. It will be revealing how other political parties will respond to the tone set. At the end of the day we must accept that slowly Zimbabwe can be moving towards an issue based election come 2018 rather than one based on violence and intolerance. The Zimbabwean voter, free to decide in a fair poll, is the only judge of what the former vice president has put on the table,” said Chimhini.