YESTERDAY, we woke up to news of a “manifesto” that is attributed to, and indeed bearing the signature of, Joice Mujuru, former Vice President of Zimbabwe. No surprises there. Since the beginning of her troubles late last year, leading to her deposition from Zanu-PF in April, Mujuru has issued a number of such statements in the private media; first seeking to wash off the crimson putschist sins that covered her, and secondly trying to project herself as a some kind of politician of the future, after the great fall.
One has to note that besides such written ostentations, Mujuru has never spoken much, even to the same private media that seem to urge and push her onto the political ring from which she was booted out unceremoniously.
She has not been speaking, on her own volition, more than a couple of sentences to the media, which has sent the private media into extraordinary depths of desperation.
The private media would stretch a single quote, a rebuff or even an earnest appeal to be left alone, into acres of worthless stories which served no other purpose than betray the political ambitions and wishes of the papers in question.
You would forgive this despicable and base habit as an idiosyncrasy of one paper but, hey, somebody has thought it is a good idea lately!
But it is their problem, not ours.
I pointed that Mujuru has not said much to anyone, let alone in the media.
In the past three or four months she has turned down two requests for an interview with me.
First, politely, saying she was travelling away from her Beatrice Farm where she is apparently busy and reclusive these days.
Secondly, on the follow-up of the first, saying she still was not ready to talk to the media.
In light of the media shyness of Mujuru, two gentlemen – Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa – and lately a third, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti – have been more than willing to talk on her behalf.
They are the ones (plus Temba Mliswa) that came up with the idea of “People First” and all that jazz.
They are the ones that have been telling us about a party being launched “soon” and “ready to take off”.
They are probably the ones (plus one Ibbo Mandaza, perhaps) that have come up with the Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) manifesto, upon which they hope to launch a political party.
We are told it may take place on September 11 or 12 (of all days!)
Now it will be useful to interrogate these developments.
Why has Mujuru been quiet all along?
(She has not even publicly acknowledged Rugare Gumbo as the spokesperson, and she refused to do so to me, in a conversation.)
How willing is she to embark on this project and what kind of a builder, forgive the pun, will she make?
What is the substance of the project?
What are the prospects of the envisaged political outfit?
The first thing to note is that Mujuru has been quiet since her dramatic fall from Zanu-PF because she was too confounded, too numbed, by what hit her.
One may recall that for a moment it all seemed that she was headed for a palace coup in the party, with a majority provincial chairmen apparently in her camp and capable of carrying out a coup during the December 2014 Zanu-PF Congress.
The spokesperson of this putschist cabal would be one Temba Mliswa who would, as the plan went, nominate her for the post of president to rival President Mugabe upon which provinces, as the Electoral College would endorse her.
That would be the end of President Mugabe, and a culmination of a deadly game that almost knocked him down in 2008 through the bhora musango scheme.
While there was a lot of drama in the run up to that congress, the climax saw the downfall of Mujuru and her loyalists and the resolution her silence.
Silence which is quite loud, if one could add.
Many people would have expected Mujuru to break her silence and announce herself as a political force soon enough, but she didn’t, probably squandering a lot of opportunity and momentum.
Where people expected her to break ranks, denounce the status quo and in particular the circumstances that had ill served her, Mujuru was meek and said she would not dare raise a finger against President Mugabe.
She still regarded President Mugabe as her father, etc, she told us.
There is a world of difference between silence and retreat that is strategic and silence that is clueless and beaten.
The latter most probably applies to Mujuru.
Being a generally plain, unimaginative, uncreative and not-so-bright woman, Mujuru has not shown any capability as a strategic thinker.
These attributes generally led her to squander an opportunity of a lifetime; a nadir after spending 10 years being within the touching distance of becoming the most powerful individual in the country.
Mujuru’s misfortune is one of lacking any strategic thinkers around her.
If she had, she would not have been second-guessed as President Mugabe’s anointed successor in all 10 years.
If she had great thinkers around her, December 2014 would not have happened.
Woe, she only has Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa!
What have these fine gentlemen achieved with their miserable lives?
What is worse, Mujuru is an unwilling leader.
The aforementioned gentlemen and others have apparently been pushing her, most probably for their own egos and political fortunes — the reason why Mliswa was so bitter at her coyness.
And why, too, the Daily News went to the extent of contriving Margaret Dongo staging a coup of the non-existent People First name to jolt Mujuru into a riposte.
Now you see why Joice Mujuru’s signature sits uncomfortably at the foot of the so-called BUILD manifesto.
You have the NGO-type, MDC-like, neoliberal grandstanding making that manifesto.
She is an unwilling and incapable builder!
One shudders at the prospect of another hand held leader of the opposition (the hand holders being Gumbo and Mutasa).
On the BUILD manifesto itself, you cannot separate it from Tsvangirai’s JUICE or the latest from Tendai Biti HOPE (Holistic Program for Economic Transformation).
The one thing that strikes you is that there is nothing that strikes you!
It’s something that you think you have seen somewhere.
This means that even if Mujuru were to lead this party, and we wait for it; it will not be something earth-shattering.
We have been down that road before. But who are we to stop people from BUILD-ing castles in the air?