Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), went up in flames on Wednesday, as she fired several founding members, who then turned around and claimed they had instead expelled her.
Source: ZimPF purge long overdue – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 10, 2017
Comment; NewsDay Editor
While the stories would be about a party in chaos, ZimPF was in desperate need of such a cull if ever Mujuru was to be taken seriously as an opposition leader.
The likes of Didymus Mutasa were pulling ZimPF down because of their chequered past and were a liability to the party.
As former State Security minister, Mutasa oversaw some of the most heinous crimes committed on Zimbabweans, with many opposition activists uneasy to sit at the same table with him because of his alleged complicity.
For example, activist, Jestina Mukoko dragged Mutasa to the High Court over her abduction and the court is yet to rule on his culpability.
Mutasa has also been accused of being complicit in the death of Christpowers Maisiri, a 12-year-old boy, in Headlands in a case of senseless political violence.
It is important to point out that Mutasa has not been tried nor proven guilty in both cases, but this is the sort of the baggage he brought with him to the opposition party.
Then there is the issue of the mysterious phone call he reportedly made to President Robert Mugabe, which many took as a sign to show that he was still close to the veteran leader and could be angling to rejoin Zanu PF.
Many were sceptical of whether Mutasa and others in ZimPF had reformed enough and could be trusted to be part of an opposition party.
There were also enduring murmurs that people like Rugare Gumbo were against an opposition coalition and wanted to go it alone in the hope that ZimPF could defeat Zanu PF.
ZimPF could have gone on to defeat Zanu PF, but this is not the time to experiment and the party is better off working with other opposition parties.
The purge Mujuru carried out was long overdue and if she may care to admit, her former colleagues in Zanu PF were now a liability and she had to deal with them ruthlessly.
Now, ZimPF has to re-energise and rejuvenate itself by bringing in younger people, who are not tainted by any association with Zanu PF and who want to take the party and the country forward.
ZimPF needs a young crop of leaders, who are willing to build on Mujuru’s liberation war gravitas, while winning over millennials and new voters, as this is the only way it can make an impression on the political scene.
Purges are difficult and painful, but sometimes they are inevitable.