- Published: 17 December 2015
- Written by Online Correspondent
FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has joined the opposition bandwagon calling on President Robert Mugabe to level the political playing field and implement key electoral reforms ahead of the watershed 2018 polls.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora told our source yesterday that former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa yesterday endorsed the reforms petition on behalf of Mujuru’s People First (PF).
“The great news I want to tell you is PF has signed the National Electoral Reforms Agenda document that speaks to our demands for reforms before any elections are held in Zimbabwe. Mutasa signed on behalf of PF,” Mwonzora said.
Renowned cleric, Bishop Ancelmo Magaya, who is co-ordinating the initiative, also confirmed that Mutasa appended his signature to the document on Tuesday.
“I had constructive engagement with Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn — who are yet to append their signature, but are actively participating — and People First appended their signature yesterday (Tuesday),” Magaya said.
The cleric also said the Zimbabwe National Agreement Platform launch will take place tomorrow at the City Sports Centre, where representatives from civic society groups, churches and political parties are expected to chart the country’s new political course.
While Mutasa was not immediately available for comment, PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “I would need to check with Mutasa, but as a party we agreed in principle that we will support the call for reforms by other opposition parties. But for the avoidance of doubt, People First will not be boycotting any elections because there are no reforms,” he said.
“It would be ideal if we are to go to elections in 2018 in a democratic political environment characterised by a level playing field. But we would be doing Zimbabweans a disservice if we are to fold our hands and expect Zanu PF to commit political suicide by instituting reforms that it knows will precipitate its demise.
“We are not naïve, but also alive to the fact that these reforms are constitutional that every Zimbabwean must demand.”
The latest move by Mujuru’s yet-to-be-launched party was widely viewed as a facesaver for MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who signed the document two weeks ago in the company of fringe opposition party leaders after other mainstream opposition leaders snubbed the event.
Besides PF, other more established opposition parties that “snubbed” the initial signing ceremony included Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly, People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti, Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and former Energy minister Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.
The MDC-T has been boycotting by-elections since 2013 when it lost to Zanu PF.
Mujuru was shunted out of Zanu PF at the tail-end of 2014 over accusations she was fronting a plot to topple Mugabe by foul means.
Although she denied the accusation, her lieutenants, including Mutasa and Gumbo, were booted out in a brutal purge that has continued unabated.
Since then, the former VP has kept a low profile, amid reports her close aides were preparing groundwork for the party’s grand launch sometime early next year.