HARARE – Firebrand war veteran Margaret Dongo has branded Zanu PF politburo members as cowards who were “only brave enough to hound” former Vice President Joice Mujuru after her powerful husband, General Solomon Mujuru, had died.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Dongo — who once famously described Zanu PF bigwigs as President Robert Mugabe’s wives — said the treatment that the warring ruling party was dishing out to “one of its own (Mujuru)” was “a contemptible sign of cowardice”.
Zanu PF expelled Mujuru from the party last Thursday on a slew of untested claims which included charges of allegedly conspiring with her late husband —whose nom de guerre was Rex Nhongo — to oust and kill Mugabe.
But in the no-holds barred interview with the Daily News yesterday, Dongo said the “well-calculated attacks” and eventual expulsion of Mujuru from Zanu PF was a telling sign that Zimbabwe was led by “fawning cowards”.
“They are cowards. They should have confronted Rex when he was still alive, not the wife. These cowards are now exploiting the wife and abusing her for the sins of her husband,” Dongo charged.
Zanu PF has bizarrely alleged that the late general, who died in a mysterious inferno in 2011 at his Beatrice farm, just outside Harare, wanted Mugabe removed from power as early as 2004.
Dongo said there was an urgent need for Zanu PF “to separate facts from fiction” and to explain why it had taken the party more than a decade to bring “these charges against the Mujurus”.
She also said there was “an equally urgent need” to investigate the exact circumstances surrounding the death of General Mujuru, who was the country’s first black army commander.
“All these allegations now raise questions with regard to the death of Mujuru. You cannot say the wife was complicit and then charge her now when that happened ages ago. Right now the public is asking why this is happening to Mujuru.
“I think it is time to go back to the death of Rex and investigate. There should be a thorough investigation so that the truth is revealed,” Dongo said.
The charred remains of Mujuru were discovered at the couple’s Beatrice farmhouse in 2011 after a mysterious fire gutted the farm dwellings.
Many Mujuru family members are still suspicious of the circumstances leading to the death of one of the country’s most decorated liberation war heroes.
Allegations against the late general, whose funeral at the Heroes Acre in Harare was the biggest ever seen in Zimbabwe, are contained in a report that was prepared by Zanu PF’s disciplinary committee ahead of the party’s politburo meeting last week.
Speaking sarcastically, Dongo said if the treason charges against Mujuru were anything to go by, then there was also need to re-examine the criteria used in granting hero status to fallen party cadres since Zanu PF “apparently erred in burying a traitor at the sacred Heroes Acre”.
“If Rex was a traitor, why bury him at the Heroes Acre? If he really is as bad as they allege, then it only means that the majority of people who are buried there are also traitors. This creates conflict on who should be there and who should not,” she said.
Once described as the Zanu PF kingmaker, Mujuru — in death — has become a punch bag for his ruling party political rivals who have successfully, at least for now, stopped his wife from taking over the reins from Mugabe.
“Grace is a very powerful woman and her role in the expulsion of Mujuru shows that men do not lead alone but are influenced by their wives. Sometimes you also question the coincidence.
“She (Grace) returns and then there is an urgent politburo meeting. She is very powerful, or perhaps this points to the fact that there are some people who are manipulating and using her to get rid of Mujuru,” Dongo added.