HARARE - Former vice president Joice Mujuru has dismissed as “outright lies” President Robert Mugabe’s allegations over the weekend that she is dabbling in witchcraft in order to kill him and his wife Grace — emphasising further that her silence should not be confused for weakness.
Mujuru, once the leading candidate to succeed Mugabe, was controversially culled from both the leadership of Zanu PF and the government late last year, with Grace fronting the ruling party’s brutal purges that also claimed the heads of many other senior officials perceived to be sympathetic to the former VP.
Party strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa was the key beneficiary of the ruthless purges as he was subsequently promoted by Mugabe to Mujuru’s former posts both in the ruling party and in government.
In a statement yesterday, the miffed Mujuru said she was ready to be hauled before the country’s courts and ruling party processes to defend herself on any of the myriad murky charges that her erstwhile Zanu PF comrades have thrown at her, including claims that she was corrupt, a witch and that she wanted to oust and assassinate Mugabe.
“I have said it before and I repeat it again, handiite izvozvo ini (I have nothing to do with those claims). I am innocent of all these charges and I am ready to face the allegation(s) in open court or any other forum within the Zanu PF constitutional structures.
“I fought for the liberation of this country and hold ideals of the liberation struggle and Zanu PF is close to my heart. I have not betrayed my party or its leadership,” Mujuru fumed.
And as the country’s economy continues to plummet, Mujuru said focus, especially from the highest office, should be on nation building and not concentrated on petty personal attacks based on “presidential fantasy”.
On Saturday, Mugabe’s vitriolic attacks on Mujuru plumbed new depths when he sensationally claimed that his former deputy had consulted Nigerian witch doctors in a vain bid to topple him from power.
“Recently, she invited two Nigerian sangomas. We heard that they were specialists in the field of witchcraft. They were specialists, yes, but specialists in robbing people, foolish people,” Mugabe claimed with a straight face.
Mugabe also revealed unwittingly in his rumbling speech at his lavish Victoria Falls birthday party that State machinery was being used to snoop into the life of Mujuru, whose husband Solomon died in a mysterious fire in 2011 at the couple’s Beatrice farm.
The nonagenarian, who is also the chairperson of both Sadc and the African Union, claimed in embarrassing tone that the rituals involving Mujuru had allegedly been conducted while the ex-VP was half naked.
But in her response yesterday, Mujuru said she was at a loss for words why Mugabe had made all these false claims as her religious background did not allow her to stoop that low in life as to enlist the services of sangomas.
“I am at a loss as to how I continue to be the subject matter of presidential conjecture and fantasy based on outright lies.
“I was born into the apostolic faith and once at school became a member of the Salvation Army. I am a committed Christian and was leader of the Apostolic churches as patron, and I have been committed to Christian life and values, all my life.
“It is disturbing that the allegations that I tried to, or was part of a conspiracy to assassinate the president, have now been reduced to allegations of witchcraft, whose versions change on a daily basis.
“I am sure even ordinary Zimbabweans have now become tired of this story in its various guises. It’s a charade which has lost steam,” Mujuru said.
The respected war veteran, whose nom de guerre was Teurairopa (Spill blood) also warned that her silence should not be mistaken for “weakness.”
“I have kept quite out of respect for RG Mugabe as party leader, and my considered silence should not be viewed as a sign of weakness or guilt.
“My focus is on nation building and avoiding unnecessarily the destruction of the party I belong to, Zanu PF, by Amafikizolo (Johnny-come-latelies) who are motivated by self interests and do not put the people first,” Mujuru added.
Mugabe’s shocking utterances as he celebrated his 91st birthday at a mega dollar birthday jamboree in Victoria Falls have sparked outrage among Zimbabweans, with legal experts also pointing out that he is behaving irresponsibly by breaking the Witchcraft Suppression Act, which outlaws calling another person a witch.