By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, March 02, 2016 – OUSTED Vice President Joice Mujuru finally threw her hat into the ring by declaring on Tuesday she is among those who would be vying for President Robert Mugabe’s job in 2018.
Addressing her first ever press conference as Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) President, the country’s former number two did not lose time to declare her party, if it forms the next government, will restore economic prosperity, human dignity and also overhaul the country’s empowerment laws.
She also pledged to readmit Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth after current President Robert Mugabe in 2003 abruptly dragged the country out of the rich bloc after Zimbabwe got suspended in March 2002 for gross human rights violations and poll theft.
“Zimbabwe People First is committed to ensuring that Zimbabwe regains its rightful place in the global community of nations,” Mujuru said in comments probably aimed for the attention of a host of foreign diplomats who were also part of the media briefing at a local hotel.
“We shall rejoin the Commonwealth. We shall be committed to meeting our international debt obligations.
“We will seek rapprochement with countries that currently have poor diplomatic and difficult economic relations with Zimbabwe, without sacrificing our national sovereignty. Zimbabwe shall strengthen its relations with all those countries it currently enjoys good relations.”
Mujuru’s much anticipated media address came long after she had gone into silence following her shock dismissal along with several Zanu PF bigwigs in 2015 for allegedly plotting to remove Mugabe, who also accused her of a plot to bewitch him.
The allegations have not been proven to this date.
The ZPF interim leader was on Tuesday accompanied by some of her former Zanu PF allies, among them Sylvester Nguni, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and Dzikamai Mavhaire.
She looked composed during her briefing, adding she was “not bitter about all the negative things that were said about me”.
Mujuru took much of her address unpacking what her fledgling party had in store to mend the country’s economy, which has taken a huge battering under the current Zanu PF led government.
Despite having been in the ruling party for decades, Mujuru vowed she was never going to rejoin Zanu PF.
“I was part of Zanu PF, but I am out and I will never go back to Zanu PF. Our new party Zimbabwe People First is completely a new entity with new values and followers. Our desire is to transform and build,” she said.
She unpacked her party’s economic plans under the so-called Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD), saying the current economic environment demanded proper policies.
“Zimbabwe does not have any currency of its own, infrastructure is very old. The investment environment is crowded by multiple incoherent policies,” she said.
In another move that is likely to unsettle Zanu PF, Mujuru also said her party would institute a land audit to smoke out multiple land owners, something that has been resisted by her former comrades in Zanu PF.
“Zimbabwe urgently needs an investor-friendly and market driven economic policies to stimulate economic activity. In order for his to take effect, the scourge of corruption will need to be uprooted so that the nation is rid of this cancer,” she added.
Although she did not mention how, Mujuru also said her party would review the country’s tough indigenisation policies, blamed for scaring away much needed Foreign Direct Investment.
“There is an urgent need to create jobs for the army of unemployed youths. A whole review of the Indigenisation Act will be done to ensure true economic empowerment,” she said.
Commenting on prospects of a united front among opposition parties, Mujuru said she was yet to meet with the other political parties.
Her anticipated re-entry into the country’s political arena was also evident among hordes of her followers who swarmed the venue to catch a glimpse of the presidential aspirant.
Mujuru briefly addressed the crowd as she exited the venue, telling her cheering believers she had re-entered the arena to challenge for the country’s most influential job.