HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday twisted the knife that he has stuck into the back of his embattled number two, Joice Mujuru, alleging that she was so desperate to topple and succeed him to the extent that she consulted “n’angas” (witch doctors).
Addressing the party’s central committee at the Zanu PF headquarters, Mugabe said he had known for a long time about Mujuru’s alleged plot to oust him from power, reiterating that the beleaguered VP had allegedly gone to the extent of working with the opposition MDC and the United States government to try and achieve her mission.
Attempts by the Daily News last night to get Mujuru to comment on the sensational claims were unsuccessful.
Mugabe further claimed that his deputy had a two-pronged strategy to grab power from him, which included “shooting me”.
Describing the alleged plot as “foolish”, the nonagenarian also claimed that Mujuru had even asked members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect to pray for her ascendancy to the helm of the ruling party.
Mugabe said one of Mujuru’s main allies in the failed plot had been Presidential Affairs minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa.
“They went with the likes of (Ray) Kaukonde to get advice from witch-doctors where they were told to bring nyungururwi mbiri (two water insects) with different colours which they would name Mugabe and Mujuru,” Mugabe said, adding that the insects were supposed to be put in a clay pot full of water.
The insects, Mugabe claimed, would be made “to fight against each other and if the one given my name loses the fight, then it would mean that she ascends to power”.
“But what I did not understand is what would happen if mine were to win like what has since happened,” he said.
In a long and winding speech, Mugabe said his deputy even followed him when he visited apostolic sects in the country, ostensibly to educate them on the need to send their children to school, but in reality for ulterior motives.
Mugabe said he recalled an incident when he had been invited to officially open a school that the Johanne Marange church had built, but Mujuru had insisted that she wanted to open the school herself.
“When they called me to officially open the school, my colleague (Mujuru) insisted on doing it herself saying she wanted the men of God to pray for her because she thought she would be given power, asi shoko ravatumwa raiti aiwa, hazviite kana wakasarudzwa achiripo (the word of the prophets said this was not possible as Mugabe, who had been chosen by God, was still in power).
“Isu pashoko redu tinoti akasarudzwa uyu akatosarudzwa naMwari (the men of God said it was not possible as long as Mugabe, the chosen one, was still alive). They told her that only when God finally takes me will they pray for someone else),” he said.
Mugabe also revealed that he had managed to get more information on the plot from his wife Grace, whom he colourfully described as “explosive as a dynamite.”
The Zanu PF leader said he had wanted to keep some of the information about the chaos in the party under wraps but his wife had moved quickly to divulge everything.
He also revealed that Grace had also told him that she was being blocked from taking over as Women’s League boss, ostensibly by Mujuru and her supporters.
He claimed that Mujuru’s alleged “affinity” to whites meant that she was unfit to lead Zanu PF.
“If you are European and American, mind you, don’t belong to Zanu PF.
Enda ku Europe ikoko (Go to Europe) and we don’t want you in our party.
“When you want to contest for the presidency, do so legally and not to use illegal ways. You must wait for people to vote for you and they will recognise you, not to try to get into power illegally.
“I will not allow that to happen, never, ever. If you get in legally through the vote of people, I will accept, but not do it the other way,” Mugabe thundered.
He also boasted about the fact that he had survived numerous rebellions in his political career.
“Isu takaona zvakawanda muparty over ma-revolts (We experienced a lot of revolts in exile), starting with the Nhari Rebellion and Gumbo revolt, together with Hamadziripi around 1977-78, when we had gone overseas with (the late Josiah) Tongogara
“Vakasara vachida kutora power (they tried to grab power) with their own soldiers, but zvakaramba (they were not successful),” he said.
Mugabe also chastised Mujuru and her allies, calling them “dreamers” who had deeply divided the ruling party.
“We knew what she was doing and we discovered a lot of things including the corruption cases.
“She was dividing people and holding a lot of meetings and planning and plotting how they were going to challenge.
“Zvanzi ndine vanhu vangu and vamwe ndeva Emmerson Mnangagwa (she said she had her own people and Emmerson Mnangagwa had his). I did ask the chairman vaMoyo whether he knew about it and I asked whether he knew that Mutasa wanted to be the chairman. This was dangerous ambition,” Mugabe said.
Mujuru and Mutasa, who both skipped Tuesday’s politburo meeting, were also conspicuously absent from the central committee meeting yesterday, amid suggestions that the VP is considering boycotting altogether the party’s damp squib congress which will be officially opened today.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News that the embattled VP feared for her life following serious and ongoing threats against her, as well as other senior officials perceived to be loyal to her by her hardline party enemies.
Mujuru’s untenable standing in the party was worsened after Mugabe openly accused her on Tuesday — the first time he did so since the brutal infighting engulfing the party burst into the open a few months ago — of plotting to topple him.
Sources say Mujuru may still respond to all of Mugabe’s allegations this week.
Addressing service chiefs and war veterans at Zanu PF’s headquarters in Harare on Tuesday, Mugabe alleged that the naivety of Mujuru’s plot against him included her working closely with the MDC, as well as soliciting regime change funds from the West ahead of last year’s elections.
He also claimed that the beleaguered widow of the late liberation war icon, Solomon Mujuru — who is universally credited with installing the nonagenarian as Zanu PF’s leader way back in the 1970s — did not want the ruling party to go for the disputed elections.
And as Mugabe viciously attacked his deputy, rowdy youths, who were brown-nosing Mugabe’s wife, Grace, at the same time, vowed not to allow the beleaguered VP anywhere near the party headquarters and the congress.
The multiplicity of allegations against Mujuru, which range from corruption to gross abuse of office, as well as the more serious treason charges, will in all likelihood end the VP’s presidential ambitions — at least for now.
Youths who were baying for Mujuru’s blood vowed on Tuesday that she would be blocked from registering and attending congress.
Kudzanayi Chipanga, the Zanu PF deputy youth chairperson, bluntly warned Mujuru and her sympathisers to stay away.
“If they decide to come, they are coming at their own risk as anything can happen to them. We cannot guarantee their safety,” he said.
He declined to state the specific action that he and his group planned to take in the event that Mujuru decided to attend the congress.