Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) is a political party in Zimbabwe founded in 2015 by former Zanu-PF senior member and former Zimbabwe Vice President, Joice Mujuru. The party was created to form opposition against Zanu-PF after Joice Mujuru and other now former Zanu-PF members were unceremoniously expelled from Zanu-PF for plotting to unconstitutionally succeed the party leader, Robert Mugabe. The Mujuru faction in Zanu-PF had the nickname Gamatox, a name given to it by one of its members, Didymus Mutasa, who said the farming chemical was needed to remove weevils from the party. “weevils” was in a reference to the faction supposedly led by Jonathan Moyo after Moyo was referred to as a “weevil and “devil incarnate” by Robert Mugabe for attempting to destroy the party from within.
The stated vision of the party is “To Attain Peace, Freedom, Democracy and Prosperity for all”.
The party has said its strategy to achieve this is to “Remove All Measurable Pitfalls (RAMP) across all sectors by promoting a full understanding and commitment by the country’s leadership and its people to BUILD”
The party is led Joice Mujuru as interim president and it has said it will hold a congress in 2015 to elect its leaders.
The Naming of the party
The name of the party was initially ZANU People First when its name was first mentioned to the press in early 2015 by Didymus Mutasa. Party senior member Rugare Gumbo however said in early 2016 that the name was changed to just People First as it was felt the Zanu part was causing confusion and bringing baggage of the leaders being expelled leaders. Eventually, when the party officially launched on 1 March 2016, it was known as Zimbabwe People First.
Launch of Zimbabwe People First
Zimbabwe People First registered its presence at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) 12 February 2016. However, it was later launched at a press conference in Harare on 1 March 2016. At the press conference, Mujuru declared:
Zimbabwe does not have any currency of its for many years now. Infrastructure is old and dilapidated and advently in need of repair if not complete replacement with the most modern technology.
The investment environment is crowded by multiple incoherent policies. Inadequate and unaffordable credit finance and an urgent to reform a parasitic non-performing parastatal sector.
This has given rise to economic decay in both urban and rural area centers across the whole country.
Zimbabwe urgently needs investor friendly and market driven policies to stimulate economic activity. I order for all this to take effect the scourge of corruption will need to be totally uprooted so that the nation is rid of its cancer and evil spirit.
There’s an urgent need to create jobs for the huge growing army of unemployed. Our Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage Development outlines our policy plans to change Zimbabwe for good.
Zimbabwe people first believes in Zimbabwe that belongs to all people regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, political affiliation or religious affiliation. This was an important value of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. And Zimbabwe People First is entirely devoted to this particular value.
Today that unjust system, ZANLA, ZIPRA and the Zimbabwean masses fought against remains a noose around our necks as that system has stolen any hope for the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe People First is a dynamic party that embraces the future. A party that offers transformation and hope to the young and old people of Zimbabwe. A party that will remove the unjust system once and for all through economic political and social reform.
Zimbabwe People First believes in a Zimbabwe where the civil service is apolitical. “
Zimbabwe People First is a democratic party that has said it is “guided by the values of the liberation struggle, of self determination, self-dignity, self-pride, expressed through the adoption of market driven policies under a constitutional democracy, with the State acting as a facilitator and regulator to allow for a level playing field and provide equal opportunities for all.”
- Joice Mujuru
- Didymus Mutasa
- Rugare Gumbo
- Sylvester Nguni
- Dzikamai Mavhaire
- Bright Matonga
- Claudius Makova (Retired Colonel)
- Kudzai Mbudzi (Retired Lieutenant Colonel)
- Kudakwashe Bhasikiti
- Ambassador John Mvundura
- Elliot Kasi (Retired Brigadier).
The party is funded privately by its membership.
Zimbabwe people first launched its BUILD party manifesto on 8 September 2015. BUILD stands for Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development. Ideals proposed by the Manifesto include:
- All people are created equal under God
- The law should, therefore, be applied equally to all citizens and offices in the land
- A wholesale review of the Indigenisation Act is required
- All persons who call Zimbabwe home shall be entitled to access land and participate in its sustainable utilization
- Giving value to agricultural land by promoting a transparent land policy framework that attracts investment, creates, promotes and supports security of tenure and bankable leases
- Ensure that government’s role is to facilitate, promote and regulate a level and sustainable stable economic playing field
- Enforce, promote and respect property rights and address historical compulsory acquisition through fair and transparent compensation
Structure and Constitution
Zimbabwe’s People First has not made its constitution available yet publicly and it has not held it’s first congress to announce its substantive party structure. It’s interim president is Joice Mujuru.
Zimbabwe people first has been criticized for having its founding roots in its members being expelled from Zanu-PF as opposed to leaving of their own volition. The party has also been criticized of having a leadership that contributed significantly to the economic problems and human rights violations that Zanu-PF is blamed for. It has therefore been said that ZPF is just Zanu-PF with a different name
- Pindula (2016) ‘Zimbabwe People First’