President Robert Mugabe on Thursday literally donated his beleaguered deputy Joice Mujuru to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his floundering part, as the curtain seemingly comes down on the political career of one of the country’s most illustrious women.
Mujuru, vice-president for the past 10 years, fell foul of President Mugabe amid sensational revelations that she was plotting, with the aid of western powers, to topple President Mugabe from power.
The Zanu PF’s second in command failed to attend the former guerrilla movement’s congress currently underway in the capital, with the party’s first secretary and president showing his exasperation at her behaviour.
“What boggles the mind is why anyone claiming to be a cadre of the struggle, cooked in the crucible struggle, would hobnob with such politics. Why? Why? Why? We raise you in the struggle, grant you leadership, build your stature, and impart consequence to your person, often against your intrinsic worth,” he said of Mujuru.
“We hear they have been working with elements in the opposition with promises of money, a lot of money from the Americans. Reports of meetings with chairmen and other people have come to us regarding this plot.”
Mujuru stands accused of extortion, corruption and the more heinous crime of treason after allegations were levelled against her in which she, along with party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Labour minister Nicholas Goche and expelled party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo reportedly sought to remove the president by force, including “seeking to shoot me”, according to President Mugabe.
Goche is said to have been running around looking to hire “hitmen to take out the president” while Mutasa allegedly told a female friend that the president “will be shot if he continued frustrating” Mujuru’s quest for power.
President Mugabe said Zanu PF would now push Mujuru into the “arms of the opposition” than demote her to a lesser important position in the ruling party.
“Instead of recognising all these efforts, you turn against the party and president! Today the people reject you, spit you out, and push you into the arms of the very opposition you sided with,” said President Mugabe as members of the congress laughed, whistled in excitement while members of the women’s league ullulated.
“I never thought a true cadre of the revolution would decay to that level. When you desert your own comrades, desert the ideals of your own revolution, abandon principles that mobilised you for the struggle, commit infamy of joining quislings, you suffer fate of quislings. The people will reject you,” added President Mugabe who is turning 91 in two months time.
Mujuru’s woes have mounted since junior Foreign minister Chris Mutsvangwa led the verbal assault almost two months ago when he cast doubts over the war heroine’s liberation credentials; including claims that the vice-president had “single-handedly downed a Rhodesian helicopter”.
Mutsvangwa alleged it was a false story that had been sold to Zimbabweans by Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu.
Zimbabwe’s former envoy to China was joined in the chorus by First Lady Grace Mugabe who, following her nomination to take charge of the Zanu PF women’s league about four months ago, embarked on a whirlwind tour of the country’s provinces in what was dubbed “thank you rallies”, opened a pandora’s box, initially subtly accusing leaders of factionalism and corruption.
However, all hell broke loose at her rally in Bindura when she openly attacked Mujuru, accusing the country’s second in command of corruption, ineptitude, extortion and scheming with the country’s enemies to assume power unconstitutionally.
On Thursday, President Mugabe effectively confirmed the charges against Mujuru, but went on to call for “evidence” that will be used to get her and other cabinet ministers, as well as senior civil servants arrested.
“I would not want to blame women and say you are the only ones who steal, because you gave us (Mujuru) in good faith, but look at the sins she has committed. Some that we did not even know, including others in which the children were being used in underhand gold and diamond deals,” he said.
Besides the opposition MDC-T links, Mujuru has also been associated with political outfit Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, fronted by former politburo member Simba Makoni.
The First Lady claimed Makoni’s party was formed in the Mujuru household.