THE story is now all too familiar in Zimbabwe, having been told and retold over and over again. Almost every political story to do with the ruling ZANU-PF party contains aspects of its account.

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By Andrew Kunambura

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zanuPresident Robert Mugabe severed ties with his former deputy, Joice Mujuru; the latter was dumped by the wayside together with dozens of her allies.

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And of those allies, some, like Olivia Muchena, Ray Kaukonde, and Nicholas Goche, to name just a few, have chosen to completely shut themselves out of the limelight and quietly go about their businesses.

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Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo, the former ZANU-PF spokesman, and former secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, have refused to let their voices die, occasionally issuing press statements and granting interviews to selected newspapers they never wanted to talk to during their time in the sun.

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Now, talk is that they are forming a political party, tentatively called People First.
\nMujuru recently released something of a manifesto, which has been interchangeably also called a blueprint. The people who released it to the media on her behalf are spearheading the People First political project, but Mujuru’s manifesto did not say if this was a People First document.

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One of those chucked out of the speeding ZANU-PF bullet train, Webster Shamu, still hopes for a rebound into the system, each time boomeranging back to the woodwork in humiliating fashion. Still, he will not give up trying.

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Unlike those in aforementioned categories, three of the many former ZANU-PF cadres have starkly refused, in kamikaze style, to be bullied by the system they once served so fervently but which mercilessly spit them out.

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Jabulani Sibanda and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti have all, like loose teaser bulls, been on the prowl, taking every chance to attack the revolutionary party and setting their former home ablaze at the slightest opportunity.

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Bhasikiti has largely targeted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been at the receiving end of his vitriolic verbal attacks, laced with general slurs on ZANU-PF, and openly calling on Zimbabweans to unite and dislodge the very party he, not so long ago, vigorously defended and whose interests he so passionately advanced.

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Beyond those slurs, Mliswa and Sibanda have confronted ZANU-PF from all flanks and at all possible platforms, all in a manner simply unthinkable about this time last year.
\nThe loose duo has been a thorn in ZANU-PF’s flesh and even efforts to dismiss them have patently turned futile.

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They were together at a prayer meeting for missing activist, Itai Dzamara, at Zimbabwe grounds where they wowed a crowd that would have otherwise torn them to pieces a year ago.

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They have openly denounced ZANU-PF and its leadership, earning themselves invitations at events organised by opposition parties where they have already endeared themselves with crowds that previously hated them with serious passion.

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Temba-Mliswa

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Now on the prowl, transcending lines never imagined before, many have been quick to suggest that they have joined the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), led by former prime minister in the inclusive government, Morgan Tsvangirai, in what could be a historical move in the country’s recent politics — particularly for Mliswa who has been praising Tsvangirai ever since he was ousted from ZANU-PF.

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Sibanda has denied joining the party and has not stated any inclination to the People First project either, although many already think he is their political commissar (if so he would go neck-for-neck with the equally offensive Saviour Kasukuwere who holds that position in ZANU-PF).
\nHe says he is simply showing solidarity with those he ideologically agrees with.

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Meanwhile, Mliswa, until last week, appeared to have pitched his political tent in Morgan Tsvangirai’s camp. He has been a regular at MDC-T events, the highlight of which was a travel to Chivhu for the opposition party’s 16th anniversary commemorations.

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There he, at length, lambasted ZANU-PF.

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And suddenly Mliswa and Sibanda are at the forefront of calling for electoral reforms.
\nThe former actually seems to have outpaced the latter.

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Last week, he called for a press conference where he announced that he had formed a new pressure group named the Youth Advocacy for Electoral Democracy (YAED), which he said had already started campaigning for electoral reforms.

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“This is an apolitical movement which will question every leader. I do not think I am a politician but an activist. I should be hired by all parties,” he declared.

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He took the opportunity to distance himself from Mujuru and the so-far speculated People First project, saying: “I have no time for people who cannot stand for what they believe in at the right time. What she is saying now, she should have said then. My support for Mai Mujuru in the party was for her office. Her ascendancy to vice presidency was just as controversial as that of Mnangagwa.”

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And then of Tsvangirai, he said: “If there is one thing that you ought to give him, it’s his courage. And I have courage too and we can easily work together.”

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He then turned to President Mugabe’s administration, dismissing it as worse than the repressive, colonial regime of Ian Smith.

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“Smith’s regime was better than what we are facing now and that is why we need youths who are ready to take it (ZANU-PF) on. I am trained to defend myself physically and I will do so if and when it’s necessary. Every coordinator (of YAED) will be trained to defend himself or herself,” he said.

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Whether or not the threats will translate into action is for time to tell and as the nation inches towards the crunch 2018 general elections, one can only hope not to miss what is promising to be exciting times ahead. – FinGaz

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