Zimbabwe's ousted vice president publishes manifesto

AP News
Posted: Sep 08, 2015 1:24 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Zimbabwe's ousted vice president released a political manifesto on Tuesday, signaling her possible intention to launch a new party to challenge President Robert Mugabe.

Joice Mujuru published the two-page leaflet, titled the Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development, or BUILD. The statement outlines her plans to revive Zimbabwe's ailing economy and strengthen democratic rights. The manifesto also addresses Zimbabwe's land policies.

"All persons who call Zimbabwe 'home' shall be entitled to access land and participate in its sustainable utilization," the manifesto says. In 2000, thousands of white farmers were stripped of their land in often violent evictions.

Mujuru also plans to scrap the country's indigenization policy, which demands that foreign companies cede 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans. The policy is widely blamed for frightening away foreign investors.

"That document is our blueprint, our position, our manifesto," said Rugare Gumbo, Mujuru's ally. He would not say if Mujuru would formally launch a political party.

Mujuru was kicked out of the ruling ZANU-PF party and removed from cabinet, along with eight other ministers in December last year, after Mugabe accused her of plotting to remove him.

Mujuru once a freedom fighter in Mugabe's guerrilla army known by the nom de guerre "Spill Blood" in the local Shona language, became a political outcast accused of conspiring with witches and foreign agents to remove the president. Mujuru's husband Solomon, a politically influential retired army general and businessman, died in a mysterious fire in 2011.

Zimbabwean cabinet minister and member of the ruling party, Jonathan Moyo, criticized the manifesto in several tweets, saying it was "stolen" from a "failed" manifesto of another Zimbabwean opposition party.

Mugabe, 91, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.