FUNCTIONARIES from opposition parties whose formation the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe traced to the house of Vice President Joice Mujuru have sprung to the VP’s defence with gushing tributes which analysts said were not only unprecedented, but pointed to a hitherto unknown relationship between the VP and the opposition parties.
Addressing the last leg of her “Meet The People Tour’’ at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera last Friday, Amai Mugabe revealed that the opposition MDC and Mavambo/Kusile/ Dawn were formed at VP Mujuru’s house.
While VP Mujuru had not responded to the revelations by the time of going to Press yesterday, the opposition parties and their functionaries were lining up to her defence amid reports that MKD leader Dr Simba Makoni was scheduled to address a Press conference this morning pursuant to defending VP Mujuru.
Sources close to Dr Makoni say he planned to claim Mavambo was formed after the 2008 elections, yet records show that the party was only formalised after the elections but was formed prior to the polls when Dr Makoni was booted out of the Politburo.
The opposition functionaries, most of whom are junior office holders, were also dismissed as lacking the locus standi to speak about the origins of the MDC, a party they only joined midstream as it was conceived in Westminster Abbey when the three main British political parties, the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats came together under the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to conceive an opposition party to spearhead regime change in the wake of the Zanu-PF Government’s decision to embark on the fast-track land reform programme.
Political analysts dismissed MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora as “a mere passenger on a train bound for nowhere’’ saying he was not even in party structures when the MDC was launched on September 11, 1999, a date they said was chosen to signify the arrival of the Pioneer Column in Mashonaland on September 12, 1890.
Contrary to Mr Mwonzora’s claims that processes that took place prior to MDC’s formation were done in public, the Westminster Foundation admitted its parentage of the MDC on its website which it later took down after Zanu-PF latched on to the admission to expose the MDC as a neo-colonial project.
MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai also admitted in his memoirs “At the Deep End” that there was strong involvement of the white community in the formation of the party.
A coterie of opposition elements among them Dr Ibbo Mandaza and Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, all founding members of Mavambo, MDC-T spokesperson Mwonzora, former MDC99 leader Job Sikhala and Dr Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA have all come to the VP’s defence by launching acerbic attacks on Mai Mugabe.
Prof Madhuku, in an article titled “Grace takeover: Madhuku threatens war” (The Standard October 19, 2014), pledged to go to war to prevent Mai Mugabe’s political ascendancy.
‘‘We will go to war, we do not want the Mugabe family or any related person directly or indirectly to be the President.
“People have to find unlawful means to stop this. You cannot have a country where you say one ran it for 34 years and when he left his wife took over,” Prof Madhuku said.
Mr Sikhala in a Facebook post dated October 19 called on MDC-T supporters to target Amai Mugabe for abuse accusing her of wanting to block VP Mujuru’s ascendance to the presidency of Zimbabwe.
“We must make our plans as the largest political party in the opposition in Zimbabwe with our eyes centered on Grace Mugabe’s rise in Zanu-PF politics,” he said.
“There is no doubt that watching closely Grace’s political rallies she is aiming to disrupt any attempt of the Mujuru rise in internal Zanu-PF politics. So it is in that new developments that our arsenals must be targeting Grace.
“She will be our nemesis in the future of our politics. With me that will be an interesting duel for Grace epitomises a lot of Zimbabwe’s failure today.
Come on MDC cadres. We must ravage Grace Mugabe from today onwards.”
Mr Sikhala’s sentiments, analysts said, were quite surprising given that he should be pitching for his party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, and not a senior Zanu-PF leader like VP Mujuru.
The Zimbabwe Independent of October 17 quoted Dr Mandaza asserting that Amai Mugabe would lose if she dared to challenge VP Mujuru.
“It seems the Mnangagwa faction is going for broke, but I don’t see them achieve anything because there is no way they can stop Mujuru, she is through the door already. They are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted,” said Dr Mandaza.’’
Rtd Maj Mbudzi also launched a scathing attack on Amai Mugabe.
“Amai (First Lady) by the look of things is, seems to be too individualistic, immature, is incalculative and opportunistic and rather poor in mental construction of reality,” he said.
“Dr Mai Joice Mujuru is her direct opposite who is cool, calm, reserved, tolerant, objective and intelligently calculative of what is good or bad for Zimbabwe. No wonder political crooks want her out sooner than later. She will not in the too distant future, tolerate their crooked way.”
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwnzora weighed in describing Amai Mugabe’s assertions that MDC-T was formed at VP Mujuru’s house as “wild.”
“It’s absolute rubbish,” said Mr Mwonzora.
“This is a wild accusation. MDC was not formed in a private place. The processes that took place before the formation of MDC were held in public arenas.”
Analysts have, however, said the opposition parties’ coordinated defence of VP Mujuru and her history of omitting ‘’Pasi ne MDC (down with the MDC)’’ whenever she chants the Zanu-PF slogan raised serious questions about her relationship with the opposition parties whose brand of reactionary politics had brought so much suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans.
Others lambasted Mr Mwonzora as a junior member in the MDC-T who had no locus standi to comment on the formation of the British sponsored party.
Some argued that Mr Mwonzora was still a member of the Bishop Abel Muzorewa’s United Africa National Congress when MDC was formed.
War veteran and Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Chris Mutsvangwa said the onus was on the VP to prove she had no links with the opposition.
“Kana uchida kuziva Mai vemhuru bata muswe wayo (scratch the calf, draw out the cow) It is high time that she (VP Mujuru) comes in the open and dissociate herself from that oppositional support,” he said.
“It is one thing to be accused by the First Lady and another thing to be eulogised by opposition figures.
“It is incumbent on her as a cadre of the party to say that I do not want your oppositional sympathy and defence I will talk to my President if there are any issues.
“If she remained quiet, it gives credence to what the First Lady has said.
“As a party cadre, how can you be seen supported by Major Mbudzi who betrayed his fellow cadres in the military or Ibbo who never liked Zanu-F or Mwonzora who is a member of the opposition?”
Political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa had no kind words for Mr Mwonzora.
He said Mr Mwonzora was not privy to the history of MDC-T.
“Mwonzora is not aware that there was a meeting that was held on January 23 1999 at the Chatham House which is owned by the Royal Institute of International Affairs,” he said.
“This was after the European Union had agreed that President Mugabe should be removed from office either through a military coup or through an opposition founded and funded by the British or through subversion of Zanu-PF.”
Through subversion, Mr Mureriwa said, the British wanted to divert Zanu-PF from the ethos and ideals of the liberation struggle.
He said Mr Mwonzora should not make uninformed pronouncements and avoid unnecessary fights with Zanu-PF but direct his energies towards his political nemesis Mr Nelson Chamisa who had outwitted him ahead of the party’s congress slated for next week.
“Mwonzora needs to fight Chamisa and not Zanu-PF,” he said.
“If he has been outwitted by Chamisa what makes him think that he can outmaneuver Zanu-PF?
“He is a desperate lawyer trying to create some semblance of relevance by attacking Zanu-PF. He is just trying to get a lifeline from a perceived disintegration in Zanu-PF.”
Mr Mureriwa said the First’s Lady’s remarks should not be treated as meaningless because she was privy to classified information on developments in the country.
“Comments of the First Lady are perhaps mistaken as coming from nowhere but she is privy to the operations of the State and other things in the country,” he said.
“She is well informed and has intelligence of what is happening.”
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Dr Charity Manyeruke said Mr Mwonzora was not a realist in politics as he had joined the MDC train in the middle of its journey.
She said: “If you are not a realist you think the ideal situation is what is real but a realist knows what is happening and what the First Lady said is the real situation.
“When you join a train on the middle of a journey you do not know how it started off.”
Dr Manyeruke said most of the architects of opposition parties in Zimbabwe after 1980 were formed in Western capitals.
She said people like Mr Mwonzora needed political education to deliver them from the Utopian world of imaginary politics.
Acting president of the Multiracial Christian Democrats Mr Mathias Guchutu said although Mr Mwonzora was the MDC-T spokesperson, he was not the best person to comment on that issue.
“He may not be the best qualified person to comment and it could have been good if journalists make efforts to seek a comment from someone who was present when the party was formed,” he said.
Mr Guchutu said the MDC-T can only clear its name if a founding member set the record straight with regards to allegations that it was founded and funded by foreigners.
In his book At the Deep End Mr Tsvangirai said: “In due course, as the movement grew, especially among agricultural and agro-industrial workers, led by their union, more whites saw the MDC’s potential. We included some of them in the interim leadership of the party as a demonstration of our policies and values.”
Former British premier Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he worked closely with the MDC to subvert the Government while former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell was quoted in leaked diplomatic cables opining that if westerners had better partners than the weak and indecisive Tsvangirai they would have achieved their regime change objectives in Zimbabwe.