HARARE - In a surprising revelation, former Vice President Joice Mujuru said at the weekend that contrary to the widely-held belief that she had been fired from the warring Zanu PF, she had in fact left the party on her own accord.
Addressing hundreds of war veterans in Chegutu on Saturday, Mujuru explained for the first time in great detail the circumstances that had led to her dramatic exit from the governing party in late 2014 — after she told President Robert Mugabe that if he could not stop his wife Grace’s unprovoked attacks on her, she would happily leave the former liberation movement.
She also told the captivated war veterans that Mugabe had initially professed total ignorance about the myriad and sensational accusations that the First Lady was levelling against her — with the nonagenarian going on to advise her to call a media conference to answer back to the charges.
To Mujuru’s complete surprise, Mugabe was singing a different tune when she met with him the next time she went to confront him about the worsening attacks on her — with the 92-year-old now seemingly of the genuine belief that she wanted to kill him.
“I said to Mugabe in the first meeting, ‘I think your wife should stop talking about me on TV. Let her call me so that we can sit down as adults if she has any issues with me.’ To my surprise, he said I could call for a press conference and answer back.
“I said to him because of the way I was raised, my culture and my training, I could not do that, as I was not brought up to behave that way. I then told him that if this (the vilification) continued, I was prepared to leave the VP post and go and look after my mother and the people left by (her late husband Solomon) Mujuru,” she revealed.
The former VP said after she confronted Mugabe over his wife’s vitriolic attacks on her at her “meet-the-people” rallies around the country, the “false” assaults on her in fact increased in both their tempo and brutality.
“After realising that the attacks were not receding, I went to meet him again on December 1, 2014. I told him that I had been born in a Christian family and that I had never dreamt of doing the things that he was accusing me of doing.
“I also told him that my hands and heart were clean. I have never planned to harm or kill anyone and I said to him that tomorrow (at the next day’s politburo meeting) I won’t be among you. I’m leaving Zanu PF and I am happy to do that with my hands clean.
“I am the one who bade him farewell. He did not expel me,” Mujuru told the enraptured veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation.
She also explained that when Mugabe realised that she was no longer coming for politburo meetings and that she would not attend the Zanu PF congress on December 6 of that year, it was then that the nonagenarian wrote a letter “pretending to expel me, but the fact of the matter remains that I had bade him farewell and told him I was pleased to leave Zanu PF with my hands and heart clean, since I was not guilty of the accusations he was laying against me”.
Mujuru admitted that her departure from Zanu PF had been “inevitable” as she was clashing with Mugabe regularly over policy matters up to the time she decided to leave.
“I had many wonderful plans, for example, on the Zambezi water project. I wanted to open 500 000 hectares of land under irrigation along the route that the canal would take, but he (Mugabe) would always remind me that as vice president I had no budget allocated to me, so I could not carry out the projects I envisaged.
“These are some of the things that angered Mugabe. These are the things that created enemies for me in Zanu PF,” she explained — sending her audience into laughter when she said Mugabe had once admonished her for the chicken projects that she was promoting throughout the country.
“He would frustrate the poultry projects I was promoting throughout the country. He said ‘do you want my country to be run by chicken money’?
“When I started my poultry business, I wanted to show him that yes, you can run a country by selling chickens, millions of them, not two or three,” she said amid wild applause.
Despite the “hate and ugliness” that she had encountered in Zanu PF, Mujuru implored war veterans to desist from violence as they agitated for change and democracy in the country, but to inculcate in themselves “a culture of peace and hard work”.
“When we fought the liberation war, we were saying we are liberating ourselves so that we can work for our betterment and for that of the country. But our people are now saying we have been made street kids.
“2018 is not very far, we will refuse to be street kids. Our people will vote People First in 2018 and together, we will make this country great and a first world.
“Our people want to work for themselves, they don’t want hand-outs. We don’t want a situation where someone’s son brings me a tonne of salt at a rally. I want to be able to buy the salt on my own. That is the mentality of our people. Let us help them realise their dreams,” she said.