HARARE - In a rare moment of candour since he hounded former Vice President Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF in late 2014, President Robert Mugabe yesterday gave a definitive reason why his former number two had been purged from the party.
Speaking at a Zanu PF rally at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura, the nonagenarian suggested that Mujuru had paid for the sins of her late husband, liberation struggle icon Solomon — who died in a mysterious fire in 2011 — accusing him of having worked to depose him from power in the disputed 2008 elections.
“Mujuru waiti vanhu havangatambudzike munyika muno nenyaya yemasanctions. Akupomera ini mhosva yemasanctions achiti saka Mugabe ngaabve pachigaro ndokufurirana naSimba Makoni kuita chiparty chavo Mavambo. Ndokufamba kumaprovince vachiti regai kuvhotera president . . .,” Mugabe said. (“In 2008, Mujuru accused me of being the cause of the Western sanctions that were causing much pain to Zimbabweans, saying I must step down from power. He then connived with Simba Makoni to form Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, going around the country and asking people not to vote for me”).
Mugabe said the campaign against him by the likes of Mujuru, resulted in the party losing the elections to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who got 47 percent while Zanu PF got 43 percent.
The 92-year-old leader said he was only lucky because Tsvangirai did not get the required 50 percent plus one vote to assume leadership of the country.
Mugabe also revealed that hardliners in Zanu PF were working with external forces to remove him from power.
During the address, Mugabe expressed both his frustration over increased calls for him to leave office, in the face of the ugly brawls that are ripping the former liberation movement apart.
Mugabe sensationally claimed that some of the factional leaders are now approaching the Chinese in their bid to remove him from power.
“...saka ndipo patava kusiyana navamwe ipapa vanobva vaenda mberi mberi nekumaChina kuti takuda president mutsva (That is the main cause of our differences, as some are pushing further to an extent of approaching the Chinese telling them they now want a new leader),” Mugabe fumed.
Mugabe said this after Mashonaland Central chairman Dickson Mafios also said the Chinese were meddling in Zanu PF succession wars in the province.
“Tichavadzvanya mukaona vakuchema chema (We are going to deal with them),” he said.
Since the brutal ouster of Mujuru late in 2014 over untested charges of plotting to remove Mugabe from power and assassinate him, the deadly ructions — now pitting supporters of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa against those of First Lady Grace Mugabe — have worsened.
During yesterday’s address, Mugabe said Mujuru had approached traditional healers and faith healers in her bid to take over from him, yet she is a member of the Salvation Army Church.
“Hameno kuti pfungwa yakazouya sei yekuti zvandava number two, ko iyo number one haigoneki here? (I wonder how the idea creeped into her mind after I appointed her VP, she started aiming to take my position),” he said.
The increasingly-frail nonagenarian leader admitted that the former liberation movement was now sitting on a cliff edge.
“Hatina kusungana zvakakwana iye zvino (We are not united),” he said, applauding the women for remaining united.
He urged party structures to “remain calm, disciplined, and united in the face of the multi-faceted challenges”.
Mugabe attacked former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, accusing him of influencing the youths to rebel against him. He criticised Mutsvangwa for pushing him to leave office on claims that he had overstayed.
He, however, said it was only his Zanu PF party’s congress that would decide on whether he should continue as the leader or not.
“Kana muchida kuti vatungamiri vabve eh ndobva asi zvinouya nekuparty. Asi zvingakubatsirei here? (If you want me to leave, I will leave but that has to be done through proper party procedures, but to what end?)” he asked. He said he was going to meet with the war vets during the first week of April to deal with their grievances, including the issue of school fees for their children.
Before his rally, Mugabe officially opened the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University where he gave Zaoga land that they had been charged $2,3 million by the council for free.
“Saka iyo taitaura kare kuti mari iyoyo hamuibhadhare, makabhadhara kare neminamato, takabhadhara kare neropa, vakai vakai hamubise kana kobiri rokutenga, ndizvo zvatakarwira, ndozvatakafira. Nzvimbo ino ndanga ndichitoti idiki. Kana moda kuita vana agriculture . . . mining tokutsvagirai kwokuenda monoisa ikoko macampus akati kuti. (You are not going to pay money for this piece of land, you paid through your prayers, we liberated this country for you to get land. If you want to venture into agriculture . . . mining, tell us, we can give you more land to do what you want,” Mugabe said.).
He added, “...Council kana yanga ichitsvaga mari haiwani mari nemutovo iwoyo (Council will not make money through that means),” he said.