Opinion by John Sigauke
Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader, Joice Mujuru urged youths during the weekend in her independence speech to shun the million men march being organized by the Zanu PF youths in solidarity with President Robert Mugabe.
Mujuru is labouring under the delusion that the historic march is a product of coercion by President Mugabe. No, that million men march is absolutely being organized by the youths wing of the revolutionary party on their own volition. It does not add up for Mujuru to encourage the youths to shun their own initiative.
Her calls for the youth to ignore the march are tantamount to telling children not to heed an advice from their father. President Mugabe is like a father to these youngsters and that march is a show of appreciation for his leadership that has been hinging on empowerment of the previously marginalized black people. Mujuru herself still holds the same veneration towards President Mugabe. Her rumbles are just sour grapes and she is still more than willing to be taken back into Zanu PF even as an ordinary card carrying member. Remember her statement in which she revealed that she would never leave Zanu PF, the only political home she has known since birth. It must not surprise you one day when you see her knocking at the Shake-shake door.
The MDC-T, over 2000 of them, was in the streets last Thursday demanding the stepping down of President Mugabe. Mujuru never urged the youths to ignore the demonstrations. This alone exposes her insincerity. The message coming from Mujuru is that only the MDC-T that must demonstrate and not Zanu PF.
As a political leader who is frantically trying to put both of her feet on the political ground, Mujuru must appreciate such basic democratic tenets that allow such youths to march in solidarity of any leader of their choice. It is in this vein that we saw MDC-T marching through the streets of Harare on Thursday. Zimbabwe is a democracy. Despite their nuisance behaviour in the streets, they were allowed to demonstrate.
Theirs was a ‘Mugabe must go’ demonstration. The Zanu PF youths will respond with a ‘Mugabe must stay’ march. It is to be seen which call will receive the greatest endorsement. So far, the MDC-T call was endorsed by 2 000 people who included both adults and youths. The coming march will only consist of youths, which even makes the comparison a bit unfair for the forthcoming message. Nevertheless, that will still give a rough barometer of what Zimbabweans think about President Mugabe’s leadership.
Hopefully there will be no one who will come out and say the march was rigged. We know of certain people who are always quick to say that when results are not in their favour.
In the same speech, Mujuru also attempted to lure war veterans. “To all war veterans, you don’t deserve to be treated in the manner you are mistreated,” she said adding that the ex-freedom fighters must not allow themselves to be used and abused.
“We know the courage and spirit of sacrifice that guided you during our revolutionary struggle. This is not the time to give up what you sacrificed your lives to achieve. The struggle was not about having one leader in power until death,” said Mujuru.
President Mugabe created a whole ministry to baby sit on the welfare of war veterans. The freedom fighters recently met the President, who is their patron, where the later promised to look into their grievances. With all this effort, Mujuru says that the war veterans are being abused and used. She reminds the war veterans of their courage and spirit of sacrifice, a statement that borders on incitement to revolt. The hand of Rugare Gumbo, an experienced chap in revolting against the leadership, is visibly seen here.
The war veterans are deeply rooted in the revolutionary ideology to waiver on same. Mujuru has denounced the revolutionary that the war veterans fought for, thus, as water and oil, they can never mix.
By saying the struggle was not about having one leader in power until death; Mujuru exposes her long held conviction. It is not a conviction she started holding when she was dumped by Zanu PF. She had the conviction even when she was second in charge of this country. It saves to exonerate those who dumped her.
It turned out this week that Mujuru’s statement on war veterans was a cheap attempt to lure war veterans to join the war vets body that her party is setting up. It is to be seen if the body will attract genuine war veterans save for the war time rebels like Gumbo and Bernard Manyadza.
War veterans must not be duped by a political has been who has no political future. They must remain united for it makes it easy for government to deal with the welfare of a unified force. Fragmented war veterans bodies aligned to various political formations only save to derail the fight for their welfare. During the struggle, the existence of ZIPRA and ZANLA drew back the struggle to some extent as these forces sometimes fought against each other. Let the comrades learn from history.