Harare, February 15, 2016 – JOICE Mujuru’s People First says it feels vindicated by continued infighting within Zanu PF in what has since culminated in a virtual siege on ambitious Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp by hawkish party rivals.
In an exclusive interview with RadioVOP on Sunday, People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the current victimisation of politicians linked to Mnangagwa was “their own funeral”.
“These people ganged up against us in 2014; they said we were the ones who were causing problems. Now the same tactics are being repeated on Mnangagwa,” Gumbo said.
“As a human being, I don’t like to see people humiliated and subjected to cruelty; however, we say it is their own funeral as they are now getting a dose of the same medicine that they had for us.”
People First comprises Zanu PF politicians who were in the past year dislodged from the ruling party for allegedly supporting a plot by ousted Vice President Mujuru to remove President Mugabe.
The purge, which was cheered by Zanu PF weevils (derogatory term for Mnangagwa’s camp), came after the First Lady Grace Mugabe led a fierce campaign to have the group thrown out ot the party.
Mujuru, who did not even turn up for a party elective congress December 2014 following violence threats against her, has moved on and has since registered her political party.
When she was demoted as VP, she was immediately replaced with Mnangagwa whose perceived presidential ambitions have also unsettled the first family, which now sees a renewed internal plot to dethrone the long serving President Mugabe.
Mugabe’s once trusted comrade has seen allies arrested, suspended and in some instances dragged before disciplinary committees to answer charges of denigrating the veteran leader and his wife, among other crimes.
The purges are a recurrence of the Mujuru ordeal which saw the former Zanu PF second in charge humiliated together with several party bigwigs who were suspected to be in support of her rise to become President.
The group is widely referred to as Gamatox, a name taken from axed party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s 2014 statement when he prescribed the toxic substance as a solution to get rid of ‘weevils’ that had invaded Zanu PF.
Gumbo said politicians who now form People First will not shed a tear for their comrades turned foes.
“The general feeling (in People First) is that it is their funeral. We told them before that there are people bent on destroying Zanu PF from within and they did not believe us.
“They thought we were hypocrites but now they are seeing that this is reality.”
By people who sought Zanu PF’s destruction, Gumbo was referring to politburo members Jonathan Moyo, political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.
The three form the so-called Generation 40 which comprises adventurous younger party politicians who want Grace to take over from her husband.
Gumbo added: “Jonathan said he wanted to destroy Zanu PF from within and that is exactly what he is achieving.”
The former Zanu PF spokesperson said his People First will not shut its doors on sincere Zanu PF members who chose to jump ship and join his fledgling party.