Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says former Vice-President Joice Mujuru will contest the 2018 presidential elections.
Mutasa, who falls under a group of disgruntled former Zanu (PF) members who are regrouping under a new name, People First, said Mujuru would carry the group’s mantle.
“Definitely, Mujuru will contest for presidency in 2018. She is not alone and we will be there helping each other. We haven’t changed that stance.”
The former minister of security would however not say much about Mujuru, who was fired together with several other officials on allegations of plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe (91).
“We will tell you about the party when we think it is necessary. We know there are people who are very enthusiastic to have a party with that name [People First] but we haven’t agreed as yet on the name,” said Mutasa.
Mutasa made the comments as it emerged that People First had started mobilising grassroots support as the party prepares to set up structures and eventually fight Mugabe in the 2018 general elections.
According to a Mujuru loyalist responsible for mobilisation who refused to be named, People First intends to take Zanu PF by surprise in the not-so-distant future when they officially announce the bruising fight ahead of 2018.
“Structures and mobilisation of grassroots is at an advanced stage, a launch could be announced any time now when it is conducive but we are doing our work through several platforms,” said the People First official.
“This is not limited to those who were affected by the purge in Zanu PF alone, but it is open to all progressive Zimbabweans from across the political divide, hence the ‘People First’ tag.”
He added: “In each province, we have focal people there and our structures are organised. People in all provinces are compiling databases of supporters within various political parties, Zanu PF included, who are volunteering to preach the People First ‘gospel’. We are so organised that when the announcement will be made it will be easy to take over.”
Spokesperson of the group, Rugare Gumbo admitted yesterday that People First was mobilising grassroots support in order to strengthen its structures for the 2018 electoral battle.
Gumbo said the thrust of People First mobilisation for now was political consciousness on why people should dump the Mugabe-led Zanu PF.
“We are indeed busy with the process of mobilising people. There are many people who are eager to join us,” said Gumbo.
“People should first understand that there will not be change for a better country. We are currently led by people with narrow political ambitions. We have to mobilise and make people understand that economic turnaround will not be achieved under the current regime.”
He claimed there were foreign investors keen to return to Zimbabwe but could not do that under the current Zanu PF leadership elected at the December congress which “intimidates businesses”.
Gumbo also said all Zanu PF officials suspended for between two and five years, were as good as expelled and they should warm up to life outside the ruling party.
He urged them to hasten and join People First and fight to elect Mujuru as the next president in 2018.
People First has launched social media and peer-to-peer campaigns in preparation for what observers say would be tightly contested presidential polls pitying former comrades.