By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, June 08, 2016 – OPPOSITION United Movement for Democracy (UMD) party has rebranded to become the National Party for Justice and Economics (NPJE) ahead of the highly anticipated 2018 polls.
Under its rebranding exercise, the party changed ideology from that of being a pro-political democracy political entity to that of economic independence and justice where it advocates tax freedom among the masses.
The opposition movement first made its entry into the country’s political arena ahead of the 2013 elections as UMD where it was then linked exiled businessman Mutumwa Mawere.
The South African based Mawere was initially said to be party leader and its preferred presidential candidate prior to the election.
However, Mawere has consistently distanced himself from the party while NPJE, appeared to have been reluctant to clear the mystery between the party and the businessman.
NPJE national organising secretary Ashirai Mtirikwi Mawere later claimed Mutumwa was one of the business figures elected by the party as its preferred presidential candidate towards the 2013 polls.
Ashirai, the brains behind the party, could not be drawn to clarify his relationship with the exiled businessman.
He insisted however it was within their rights as a party to nominate a presidential candidate of their choice towards national elections.
Last week, the youthful politician told RadioVOP that they had rebranded ahead of the 2018 polls.
Ashirai said the rebranding exercise came up after noticing there were rampant economic injustices in the country.
He said poor citizens continue to be burdened with a tax regime which go on to be abused by those in power, adding that the punitive system must be relaxed and in some instances abolished.
“Take a look at these scenarios. Why are we as citizens forced to pay ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services) licenses when in fact, we don’t agree with the content being broadcasted?
“Why is our tax used to pay teachers when in fact our kids are in private schools? And we go to private hospitals but still our tax pays the nurses in public institutions.
“Look how we as citizens are abused by traffic police, yet it was our money that was used to train them. As NPJE, we are not politicians but citizens who have come together and continue to mobilise those like us, victims of organised fraud and we say no more to tax,” he charged.
Ashirai further indicated that their party is driven by the need for government accountability and rule of law.
“This whole drama of taxing people to fund salaries of fat cats and compensating history at the expense of progress is our call to this formation,” he said.
Successive audits carried out by the country’s auditor general have unearthed high level corruption within government ministries, parastatals and departments.
Media exposes have exposed highly connected dealers who have connived with cabinet ministers to siphon cash from state firms through opaque awarding of tenders without following proper tender procedures.
Ashirai said while Zanu PF’s ideological stance derives from the liberation war and the MDC-T was a labour oriented party, his NPJE sought base among highly taxed Zimbabweans.