Zanu PF women pulled me down: Mujuru

HARARE - Former vice president and interim leader of the National People’s Party (NPP) Joice Mujuru has said fellow women were at the forefront orchestrating her dismissal from the ruling Zanu PF.

In a speech she delivered during the commemoration of the United Nations International Women’s Day at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, the opposition leader — who was hounded out of Zanu PF on untested allegations of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe — said fellow women ganged up with powerful men when it became apparent that she was the clear successor to Mugabe.
“What is sad in most of these cases of persecution and abuse of women is that men find willing accomplices in some of our own fellow women. This was the case in Zimbabwe where those at the forefront of sidelining me were fellow women. This is a cancer that we must deal with as women if we are to advance in various leadership positions,” Mujuru told the London conclave.

First Lady Grace Mugabe and Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri were at the forefront of purging Mujuru.
The women ganged up with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to cause the fall of Mujuru, who went on to form her own opposition party.

Before her expulsion, Mujuru, along with Mnangagwa, were seen as leading candidates to succeed Mugabe. She had commanding respect of the party’s provincial structures.
But the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party that Mujuru formed along with elders Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo last month split amid salacious allegations by the former vice president that her partners wanted to bed her.

“We left Zanu PF to form ZPF, a new opposition political party with liberation war credentials, which we have rebranded to the National People’s Party (NPP). Unfortunately, we had carried along male chauvinists who wanted me to front their struggle.
“They wanted to capitalise on my brand and leverage support with the citizens but had plans to ditch me for a male leader once I had done all the ground work.  I endured insults and abuse from these male opportunists until I had to pick myself up in the interest of the common good.

“This is the background to the so-called split that you might have read about. I had to exercise my authority and expelled the rogue elements. Sadly, as always, there were willing accomplices to help the men advance their cause,” Mujuru said.
Mutasa and Gumbo have denied Mujuru’s charges that they ever wanted to have sex with her, instead describing her as another version of Mugabe who has dictatorial tendencies.

However, Mujuru said Zimbabweans must gang up against Mugabe.
“As I prepare for my presidential bid for our 2018 elections, I take comfort in the fact that others have done it. The experience this far has hardened me and prepared me for the great task ahead.

“We pray that more and more women in Africa find the courage to challenge the status quo and seek to bring sanity to governance that has for long remained a male-dominated arena,” Mujuru said.
Revealing to her audience war time abuses by bigwigs in the ruling party, Mujuru — whose nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood) — said women were used as objects for sexual satisfaction by male commanders.

“I happen to have spent about eight years fighting in the war of liberation in Zimbabwe — fighting for our land and against racial discrimination. I had to fight to rise through the ranks to become a commander and trainer of combatants, mostly men.
“While fighting the enemy in our military camps, I was confronted by a different war; a war I had to fight against fellow comrades.

“Almost on a daily basis, I had to stand up against the abuse of female freedom fighters by male commanders who were above my military rank. It was a cause I dedicated my life towards, a cause for which I almost lost my life,” Mujuru said.

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