VICE President Joice Mujuru may very well be serving her last days as President Robert Mugabe's second in command despite bravely weathering the torrent of calls for her to resign so far, analysts have said.
The last three-month lag of her 10-year tenure as Vice President and second secretary of ZANU-PF have been nothing short of a roller coaster as the First Lady, Grace Mugabe has upped the ante in attempts to force Mujuru to resign.
Mujuru's perceived backers have been falling by the wayside in recent weeks through contrived votes of no confidence, which means the widowed Vice President will go to congress with little support to fortify her position. With her rival, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa on the rebound, with tacit support of the First Family, analysts predict the end is nigh for Mujuru.
Lawton Hikwa, a political analyst, said the days could be numbered for Mujuru if the developments of the past few weeks are anything to go by.
"Things don't seem good at all. Her time as Vice President looks like is up given the events that have been taking place in the provinces," Hikwa said.
First they were hints, however dim, that the tables would turn against her. One of the first hints was at the ZANU-PF Women's League conference when the body endorsed only the President and First Lady for the presidency and the Women's League's secretary positions, respectively, at the forthcoming congress without mention whatsoever of the women's wing's position on Mujuru.
Then the hints got louder with the entrance of the First Lady. At her "meet the people" rallies across the country, the First Lady started off hinting in thinly veiled tones of divisive and corrupt leaders in the party. As days went by and the First Lady's tour covered more miles, the writing on the wall got bolder and bolder and soon the First Lady was not mincing her words. In a tirade of accusations, the First Lady called Mujuru corrupt, incompetent, divisive and extortionist. The peak of the attacks was when the First Lady called on Mujuru to resign.
And soon, in scenes that make the stuff of nightmares, supporting structures of the ruling party — the youths, the women's league and war veterans — were virulently calling for the Vice President to step down, in huge demonstrations no less. And when the President himself registered his displeasure at factionalism and accused his deputy of plotting to assassinate him, the tempo went up a thousand voltage more.
Soon, her allies across the length and breadth of the country were one after the other toppled off the apex of provincial leadership where they had been perched since last year's provincial conferences. Still, political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, doubted President Mugabe would directly humiliate Mujuru.
In 2004, when President Mugabe catapulted Mujuru into the presidium from way down below the party ranks, Mnangagwa who had made inroads to land the second vice presidency was then pushed down to secretary of legal affairs position.
"(President) Mugabe may not humiliate her in the way the First Lady would like. He will just demote her but not fire her or throw her out of the party. But Masunungure agrees that the vice presidency will be no more for Mujuru. I doubt he will retain her as vice president. He may do what he did to (Justice Minister Emmerson) Mnangagwa in 2004 to give her a much lower position," Masunungure said.
Only last week, Mujuru broke her silence and issued a statement in which she denied all allegations levelled against her, vowing allegiance to the ruling party, the people of Zimbabwe. Her characteristic public deference to the President was also unmistakeable.