HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s statement last week, in which she savaged President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF and also apologised to Zimbabweans for mistakes that she and her erstwhile colleagues in the ruling party had made since 1980, has put the cat among the pigeons within the ranks of her Zanu PF enemies.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the statement had rattled senior party bigwigs who had assumed that she no longer had the stomach for a fight and higher political ambitions after she was brutally purged from both the post-congress Zanu PF and government together with a coterie of her most loyal supporters.
“The information we are getting is that it is panic stations in the party, going right to the top (Mugabe). Her (Mujuru’s) statement made it clear that she is still in the game and that she is going to go for it and this has rattled the party.
“Mafikizolos (Zanu PF Johnny-come-latelies) had thought that if they battered her and her allies sufficiently that she would be dead and buried, which is why they were taken by surprise by her statement last week.
“What is particularly worrying hardliners is that they are not sure what she is planning as she has played her cards very close to her chest since they hounded her out of the post-congress Zanu PF. Indeed, the million dollar question is that is she launching a new party or going to fight from within?”, a senior Zanu PF official sympathetic to Mujuru said.
Another Mashonaland East-based official said Mujuru’s statement had created “great excitement” among her followers who had also lately come to believe that she was “finished”.
“I have no doubt that whatever she does, whether she leads Zanu People First or chooses to fight from within Zanu PF, she will emerge victorious as she has a lot of support both inside and outside the party, and even the president (Mugabe) knows this,” the official said.
Mujuru, for long considered the most likely successor to Mugabe, poured her heart out in her damning statement, describing Zanu PF as a “paranoid and insular organisation”.
She was expelled from the party late last year for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe from power and even kill the 91-year-old leader, in addition to facing other untested accusations of corruption and incompetence.
Mujuru noted in her statement that six months after all these accusations were first made against her, no charges had been filed against her either at party or State level — despite repeated threats all this time that she would be arrested.
She also noted that the ruling party’s popularity had plummeted because of the many wrong decisions that they had made, further describing her eventual expulsion from Zanu PF as inevitable “as my vision for Zimbabwe was divergent from that of the rest of the party leadership”.
“We collectively failed in our basic mandate to the people. Zanu PF was once a party that was internally corrective and externally united, but has now descended into a paranoid and insular organisation.
“I have resolved that I will not join the finger-wagging class, who apportion blame but refuse to take responsibility,” Mujuru said.
She also acknowledged that Zimbabwe was in danger of implosion, and said that as a patriotic Zimbabwean and “mwana wevhu (child of the soil)”, it was her patriotic duty as well to try and save the country.
“I served faithfully in the government of Zimbabwe until my controversial, non-procedural and unjustified expulsion from both party and government in December 2014. To be discarded by my own party was initially devastating.
“I experienced feelings of betrayal and broken trust. However, as many know, it is when we confront our greatest fear that we find personal redemption,” she said revealingly, hinting at her continuing in politics.
Political analysts have predicted that Mujuru has a good chance of becoming leader of Zimbabwe if she re-enters politics and plays her cards correctly.
“Many of you will either criticise me or disagree with my approach, but I am a product of my culture, a culture I am very proud of, and the platform to challenge those older than me (and who indeed were like a father to me) is not in public,” she said in her Tuesday statement.
Mujuru said the whole experience of her expulsion had “humbled” her and despite the trauma, “I have rediscovered myself”.
“I have played with and cooked for my grandchildren, worked in the fields, and faced the day to day challenges of any ordinary citizen of Zimbabwe without the privilege of high office.
“My true friends and comrades have stood beside me and I have had unusual insight into the fickle nature of man, who prefers to pursue opportunity only for personal gain. I have been encouraged to defend myself, in response to the baseless, cruel and destructive criticism that I have endured.
“However, I cannot and will not do this. Ndiri mwana wevhu (I’m a child of the soil). I remain loyal to my culture and the ideals of the armed struggle,” Mujuru said.
Invoking the spirit of her late husband, Solomon Mujuru who died in a mysterious fire in 2011, she regretted having failed in the past to fight poverty and make the country a fairer place for all its people.
“For my own role in this failure, I am truly sorry and I apologise to my fellow Zimbabweans. This humbling experience has afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the higher ideals of the armed struggle and with sadness, I have had to digest the many shortcomings in delivery.
“It is a time in our history of contrition and reflection, for cleansing and for divinity of faith,” she added.Zanu PF in disarray over Mujuru plans