JOHANNESBURG , 18 September 2016 . Leading opposition figure Joyce Mujuru has urged Zimbabweans living in South Africa to effect change in their country through the ballot box.
HARARE? Former vice-president Joice Mujuru, who recently fired seven top officials she accused of plotting against her, has changed the name of her party from Zimbabwe People First to National People’s Party.
Mujuru made the announcement at a press conference Friday, saying she had made consultations with members of her party and they had decided to rebrand.
Two of the fired founding members Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa have made it public that the party name Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) belonged to them and they would continue to use it even though Mujuru had expelled them.
However, on Friday Mujuru announced that she changed the party’s name to “reflect our ideology and core values”.
“We realised that there were limitations that the name Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) had in reflecting and selling the national democratic ideology and core values we espouse as a party,” Mujuru said.
“As national democrats, we are guided by our main core values of constitutionalism, inclusivity, devolution of power and equity (CIDE). We, therefore, agreed that our previous identity did not put to the fore these important persuasions.”
She said her party’s national executive council, agreed during a meeting held Thursday to change the party’s name.
“We derive our uniqueness in that we are national democrats who believe in inclusivity among races, tribes, regions, gender, among other things that identify with our common vision as a political party,” Mujuru said.
“In line with our core value of inclusivity we remain committed to a coalition of progressive and democratic opposition forces to ensure we end the autocratic [President Robert] Mugabe rule at elections in 2018.”
Mujuru said her lawyers, Hamunakwadi and Nyandoro Law Chambers, have written to the country’s elections body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, to inform it of the name change.
Mujuru,61, served as Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years, from 2004 to 2014 before she was chucked out at the ruling Zanu PF’s congress in December 2014 for allegedly plotting to topple the ageing Zimbabwean leader, who turned 93 earlier this month.
Mujuru has made it public that she intends to contest next year’s general elections, while Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has already presented him as its “preferred” candidate.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has in the past said her frail husband who is nearly twice her age will rule from a wheelchair, or even from the grave.
Mugabe is in Singapore, where he travelled to this week for a medical check-up.