FORMER Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru looks set to launch her own political party, in a move that is likely to present a serious challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party.
Mujuru pledged to overhaul the southern African nation’s black empowerment laws in a manifesto she released, that may open the way to the formation of a new political party.
Mujuru, who was ruthlessly ousted as Mugabe’s deputy in December, released the “Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development,” or BUILD, to reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Harare. Asked when she would hold a public launch of the document, Mujuru said in a mobile-phone text message that “time will tell.”
“A whole review of the Indigenization Act will be effected,” according to the document. “We shall emphasize economic empowerment that attracts investments.”
It also calls for the restoration of property rights and pledges to “address historical compulsory acquisition through fair and transparent compensation,” a reference to the often-violent seizure of most white-owned farms in the country since 2000.
Mujuru, 65, was among several prominent members of Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front who were ousted at a party congress in December.
Almost 90 party officials and lawmakers, including former Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa and former party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, have been suspended or fired from the party since that meeting.
“The manifesto shows Mujuru is prepared to be in opposition or lead an opposition party,” Derek Matyszack, an analyst at the Research and Advocacy Unit, a Harare-based independent think tank, said by phone.
Mugabe, 91, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The size of the economy has been cut in half since 2000, with 1.5 million Zimbabweans, or about 15% of the population, facing food shortages, according to an assessment by Fewsnet, an organization that provides warnings about food insecurity.