HARARE - Embattled Vice President Joice Mujuru came out guns blazing yesterday, panning her Zanu PF detractors and answering back on all the “contrived” allegations that have been levelled against her.
In a hard-hitting statement last night that she addressed to “Comrades, Friends, fellow citizens and countrymen”, Mujuru emphatically rejected accusations that she wanted to oust and assassinate President Robert Mugabe, saying she remained “loyal to the President and faithful to my party, and its leader, devoted to its aims, obedient to its cause and resolute in my service to Zimbabwe”.
Clearly showing that she was reaching the end of her tether with Zanu PF’s mindless bloodletting, she called on the ruling party and its leaders to shift their focus from the current anarchy devouring the movement, to bread and butter issues that would assist long-suffering Zimbabweans.
“There are a few practical truths that I must share, which I appreciate all the time. Zimbabweans are crying out for solutions to the simple problems we have.
“(These include) how to put food on the table, how to obtain healthcare, sending our children to school, providing transport for them and restoring the transport infrastructure, keeping our cities clean, and restoring electricity to all urban households together with clean running water.
“It is these simple problems that I have dedicated my life and career to and will continue to pursue,” Mujuru said.
Taking a thinly-disguised dig at Mugabe’s wife Grace, she said she was a simple village girl from Dotito.
“Fellow Zimbabweans, I regret that I must accept one of the allegations (levelled against her). I am a simple village girl from Dotito.
“I went to join the liberation war at the age of 18 years and when I first became Cabinet minister in 1980 I could hardly speak, read or write English!
“Through encouragement from His Excellency, I went to night school and over the years have systematically and diligently improved myself academically (just as many of you have done over the years) culminating in the recent doctorate degree from the University of Zimbabwe,” Mujuru said.
With regards to recent threats against her by Zanu PF colleagues, she said it was these threats that had caused her not to attend the party’s “elective” congress last week.
“Towards the 6th Zanu PF Congress, the forces at work in the party realised that I was not and would not resign any of my public or party positions on flimsy or contrived grounds.
“Therefore, their strategy moved from being one of persistent denigration and defamation in the national State media and newspapers, to one of direct threats against my person and life.
“My agents were wrongfully and unlawfully prevented from submitting my nomination papers for the Congress and subsequently the State media and newspapers advised me that my life and person was at risk if I attended the Congress.
“In the interests of public order, and given that this unprecedented “screening” of delegates was unchallenged by the party leadership, I decided to stay away from the inevitable public humiliation as was meted out to other unfortunate members of the party.
“I made my fears known to the party leadership. It was important to maintain the dignity of the office of the Vice President even in the face of such unwarranted violence by a section of the party membership,” Mujuru said. She bemoaned the fact that State media had continued to publish “malicious untruths about me” in the run up to and after the party’s damp squib congress.
“Having listened intently to the numerous unfounded allegations levelled against me, I feel compelled to correct these unsubstantiated statements, misconceptions, lies being communicated to His Excellency The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Comrade RG Mugabe, and the general public.
“As a law abiding citizen of Zimbabwe, I abhor the very notion that an elected President or Government of the day can be removed from office through wrongful or unlawful means. “The allegations that I, alone, or (together with various distinguished Comrades) have sought to or attempted to remove His Excellency RG Mugabe from office are ridiculous.
“Earlier this year, in Chinhoyi, I had occasion to state publicly that the Zanu PF party had been infiltrated by a group of persons with nefarious intent, whose objective is to destroy the party from within.
“As a result of my objections to this agenda, I have become the fly in a web of lies whose final objective is the destruction of Zanu PF and what it stands for and ultimately the present Government of HE RG Mugabe.
“A vociferous attempt has been made to potray me as ‘a traitor’, ‘murderer’ and ‘sell out’, yet not a single iota of evidence has been produced to give credence to the allegations,” Mujuru said.
With regards to her allegedly dabbling in “witchcraft” practices, she said she would not have been concerned with such frivolous issues if this had not been raised in relation to “a very serious matter”.
“Suffice to say that I am and have always been a God-fearing person and would not and have not resorted to witchcraft to advance my political career. Support comes from the people, it cannot be divined under cover of darkness.
“I was invited to be Patron of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe, which represents at least 700 apostolic Christian churches in Zimbabwe, as long ago as January 2011. This was with the full consent and blessing of His Excellency. I have since then, with the full knowledge of the Head of State, attended numerous church gatherings, as Patron and also as Vice President. There has never been any clandestine or unlawful gatherings that I have been a part off,” she said in a back-handed slap of Mugabe who made the claims.
Commenting on her alleged incompetence and ineptitude, she said she had had numerous responsibilities as VP, including campaigning for the Party in last year’s disputed national elections.
“I personally held and attended 43 campaign rallies all over Zimbabwe in a three-week period, often at great personal expense, and happily losing 4kgs in that period!
“The result of the 2013 elections has been recorded in history, and I believe I played my part in the outcome. Having been Vice President for the past 10 years, I am perplexed that allegations of ineptitude only arose a few weeks before Congress,” Mujuru said.
She also said she believed that she had successfully advanced national causes as Vice President, especially on issues that affected the family, women, youth and children.
“We the women of Zimbabwe are legally, and constitutionally equal citizens to men, we should not be derided or treated as second class citizens in our society which is supposed to be modern and progressive,” she said in another thinly-veiled attack on Grace.
With regards to other criminal allegations that have been made against her, she maintained that she was “a law-abiding citizen who has not been involved in any criminal activity”.
“The reported accusations of criminal conduct are based on the alleged actions of third parties who the State media has tenuously linked to me out of desperation.
“This approach can only be explained as a well-orchestrated smear campaign, and gross abuse of State apparatus and resources,” she said.
On her alleged abuse of office, she said, “As I stated before, I have always utilised my office to faithfully assist His Excellency President RG Mugabe in driving the social and economic programmes of his Government to successful fruition. At no point have I ever been motivated by self-interest when discharging my public duties”.
But she reserved her strongest comment on the charge that she had allegedly plotted to assassinate Mugabe.
“The most repugnant allegation made recently has been that I sought to assassinate the President. My loyalty to His Excellency and my country Zimbabwe, is unquestionable.
“I would never be party to such an action or activity, alone or in a group,” she said.
Signs that Mujuru has had enough of the mindless thuggery in the ruling party have been there for some time.
She did not attend the last few politburo meetings and completely boycotted the party’s “elective” congress that was held in Harare last week.
And in another ominous development, Mujuru completely cold-shouldered the party’s bigwigs when she made a surprise visit to Stodart Hall in Mbare on Sunday to pay her last respects to the late diplomat Lloyd Kotsho Dube, who was later buried at the National Heroes Acre at a function presided over by Mugabe and which Mujuru did not attend.