Former vice-president Joice Mujuru drew thousands of people, including supporters of other opposition supporters to her inaugural rally in Mashonaland Central Province held in Zanu PF’s strong hold of Bindura.
University students and youths from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T attended the rally that also had People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti as one of the speakers.
Addressing the rally, Mujuru said the economic crisis was a product of President Robert Mugabe’s politics of hate.
“Every time he speaks, he is fighting everyone. He is always shouting at western countries,” she said.
“Those people have pulled out their money, folded their hands and this is what has taken us where we are today.”
Zimbabwe is experiencing a serious economic meltdown due to capital flight and poor foreign direct investment inflows.
Opposition political parties and economists blame Mugabe for the decline, citing inconsistent policies and inability to stamp out corruption.
But the 92-year-old leader has relentlessly accused the west of sabotaging him in order to effect a regime change. He blames western countries’ restrictive measures for the economic collapse.
Mujuru said a country does not need enemies in order to develop economically. She said a Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) government would embrace every country for the purpose of economic development.
“I believe every country can contribute to our economy in its own way for the good of our people,” she said.
She said there was need for the country to change its agricultural policy in order to grow the economy as well as empower rural communities whose lives have been depending on the sector.
The former VP also claimed that during her years in government as Mugabe’s deputy, she initiated several developmental projects which were sabotaged by fellow government ministers who viewed them as political projects to earn her political mileage for succession purposes.
She also warned her party supporters to be vigilant to avoid being infiltrated by Zanu PF.
Mujuru said she delayed coming to address in her home province because she did not want to have her supporters victimised by Zanu PF members as Mashonaland Central has become notorious for harbouring political thugs.
Several ZimPF supporters who fell victim to political violence after they were beaten or had their homes torched by suspected Zanu PF supporters, were paraded during the rally.
Suspected Zanu PF supporters were yesterday reportedly mounting roadblocks and forcing back some vehicles carrying ZimPF supporters to Mujuru’s rally.
Meanwhile, Biti said Mujuru’s entry into opposition politics was a blessing because it now gives the opposing forces the liberation war flavour that they lacked in previous elections.
He said opposition parties had failed in their quest to unseat Mugabe because they lacked the liberation war history.
“Most of us are born frees. We did not have the liberation pillar to lean on,” Biti said.
“With Mujuru the past and the present equals the future. With the show of unity among opposition parties victory is now certain.”
The former Finance minister brought along several PDP officials, including Solomon Madzore and Evelyn Masaiti.
Other ZimPF officials that attended the rally included, Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Didymus Mutasa.-AMH