19 February 2016

Zimbabwe: Mujuru Prepares for ZPF Congress

Photo: Tendai Marima/The Daily Vox
Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe.

FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party, which was registered last Friday, will soon hold its inaugural congress to adopt the party constitution and choose leaders ahead of the crucial 2018 elections.

The party's constitution states that ZPF will recognise and promote leadership renewal, respect human rights and put in place policies that will build and sustain the economy, among other things.

Before the congress, however, Mujuru is expected to unveil herself to the media.

"The constitution, which is in the final draft form, is going to be approved at the congress. Circumstances might force us to have the congress earlier than planned so we cannot give a specific date," said party spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

"But we have seen all our 10 provinces, we have completed meeting them, talking to them and briefing them about People First. We have asked them about how they see things shaping up and the response has been fantastic throughout the country.

"The people are very positive and they are all itching to go.

"They are waiting for the launch. And once we launch, there should be an avalanche of people who will come to support us. The next step is obviously to have a press conference where Mujuru will appear in person. We are working on the logistics."

Gumbo said the party would use the congress to unveil a number of prominent politicians who are members of the party.

"They are quite a number of people in Zanu PF that are joining People First. We have a lot of people from MDC-T, MDC-N, People Democratic Party and Zapu. Lots and lots of people. I tell you, when we launch that's when you will see," he said.

"In Zanu PF, those who are showing interest are Members of Parliament. Some are provincial members; some are central committee members and so on. We haven't set up an interim executive yet. Now that we have finished with the constitution, the next thing is consolidating structures."

The party's constitution, to be adopted at congress states that the symbol of the party will be a baobab tree. The party's colours will be black, gold, white, green and red.

"The name of the party shall be Zimbabwe People First, which name may be abbreviated and interchangeable known as ZPF or People First. This means means people are the first port of call in all our considerations," reads the constitution.

"... The symbol of the party shall be the baobab tree symbolising endurance and strength.

"The colours of the party shall be black symbolising our people, gold (our natural resources), green (agriculture and the environment, red (bloodshed in the liberation struggle and white for peace and co-existence with other races."

ZPF also states that "no party slogan shall glorify any living member," including that sloganeering that encourages or promotes hate speech will not be tolerated.

The party "envisions a sovereign, democratic and economically prosperous Zimbabwe where every citizen is free and enjoys the fruits of the liberation struggle without discrimination, threats and violation of one's fundamental rights as constitutionally guaranteed by the law."

Its core values include, accountability, constitutionalism, democracy, freedom, honesty, humility, inclusivity, justice, tolerance and transparency, among others.

The ZPF constitution also states that it will recognise that political authority comes from the people and is exercised through a free and fair democratic electoral process.

The party also pledges to protect human rights enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution, regardless of political affiliation or belief, race, gender, sex, colour, creed, religious belief, age, marital status or disability.

The party also believes "in term limits for any and all elected officials in the party, the State, government, parliament and private sector".

Membership to the party, according to the constitution shall be free to any Zimbabwean citizen above 16 years of age.

The constitution lists the principal organs of the party which are as follows, national people's elective convention which shall be held every five years, annual people's policy discussion, national executive council, national honourary, council, national executive council of freedom fighters, national executive council of the women's wing, youth wing, provincial executive council, constituency executive council and the ward executive council.

ZPF will have a national standing committee consisting of 18 members.

Mujuru, a one time favourite to succeed President Robert Mugabe, was expelled from Zanu PF at the party's 2014 congress following a vilification campaign by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

She was expelled alongside party heavyweights such as Gumbo and former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and other officials, on untested allegations of plotting to dethrone and kill President Robert Mugabe.

She is launching her party at a time Zanu PF officials are engaged in a vicious succession fight pitting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the G40 group, which has coalesced around the First Lady.

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