HARARE - War veterans have defended Vice President Joice Mujuru, saying she deserved to be the country’s second in command despite reservations from a Zanu PF faction battling to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Jabulani Sibanda, the war veterans leader, told the Daily News at the weekend that Mujuru was overwhelmingly endorsed by the people at successive congresses and said the war heroes were surprised people were now questioning her credentials a decade down the line.
Describing those who considered Mujuru an unelected official as misguided, Sibanda said the group which was publicly disparaging the vice president was itself guilty of bringing in “new faces” whom he said were causing confusion in the party.
“When she was elevated in 2004, this was well agreed to by the entirety of the party. It was like the world had endorsed her and it is strange to hear 10 years down the line people saying that,” said Sibanda.
“It is even shocking when some of the people who are saying this are the ones bringing in more new faces into the party.
“When she (Mujuru) was elevated to VP, it was like the whole world was in agreement and that remains the case today.”
As the factional fight to succeed Mugabe gets nastier by the day, supporters of a faction allegedly led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa argues that Mujuru’s “unelected” position does not make her ambition for the presidency any more superior to the claims of rivals for the job.
Mujuru reportedly leads a faction in Zanu PF that rivals that of Mnangagwa in the race to succeed the 90-year-old Mugabe.
Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Chris Mutsvangwa, who is believed to be a top Mnangagwa faction member, told the State media at the weekend that Mujuru was an unelected vice president and also claimed she lies about her liberation war exploits.
Mutsvangwa also took a dig at Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, and questioned his war credentials.
He accused Mutasa of taking advantage of his powers in the party to push through the Mujuru agenda.
In the controversial interview with the State media, Mutsvangwa claimed that Mujuru’s exploits of having shot down a Rhodesian helicopter were lies.
Asked about his views on the issue, Sibanda said he was not qualified to comment on what obtained in Mozambique as he was stationed in Zambia during the war.
“It is interesting to hear that being said by Mutsvangwa. We would also want to hear from them who was there or who was not there because even in Zipra, I cannot even tell all what happened because I could not have been everywhere,” he said.
But Sibanda had no kind words for the warring factions in Zanu PF.
“I can honestly tell you that the ideals of the revolution are being betrayed with what is happening in the party.
“Founding values are being lost and even Joshua Nkomo’s legacy has been destroyed,” Sibanda said.