FORMER vice president Joice Mujuru has laid down the gauntlet, declaring Zimbabwe a failed state.
She issued out a manifesto that effectively trashes President Robert Mugabe’s record and spells out her own vision for a new Zimbabwe.
In a statement Monday, the country’s former number two apologised to Zimbabweans for her role in the nation’s failure.
“We collectively failed in our basic mandate to the nation. For my role in the failure I am truly sorry and I apologise to my fellow Zimbabweans,” said Mujuru.
After fighting in the war which brought independence in 1980, Mujuru joined then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s government as the youngest cabinet minister at just 25 years of age.
The appointment was clearly a sign the Zanu PF leader respected her role in the war and, perhaps more significantly, considered her a bright leadership prospect going forward, a promise she perhaps fulfilled by rising to become vice president and potential successor.
But she was forced out of the party and government in disgrace, accused of incompetence, corruption and, more seriously, plotting to illegally topple and even assassinate Mugabe.
Mujuru has denied the allegations and on Monday she reiterated her refusal to openly challenge Mugabe over the charges.
“The platform to challenge those older than me (and who indeed were like a father to me) is not in public,” she wrote.
“I have been encouraged to defend myself in response to these baseless, cruel (allegations, but) I cannot and will not do this. Ndiri mwana wevhu; I’m loyal to my culture.”
Mujuru has been linked to a rival political party bringing together disgruntled and expelled ruling party officials under the Zanu People First banner.
In her statement Monday she gave the clearest indication yet that work is underway to establish the political formation by spelling out her vision for the country.
Declaring that she had resolved to “serve my nation”, the former vice president invited Zimbabweans to imagine a country “where the rule of law was a given and property rights were fully respected.”
She referred to a country where leaders “embraced its greatest asset, people first”.
“Imagine a nation with tolerance of divergent views, freedom of association and freedom of expression, freedom of political association without fear of reprisals,” said the former vice president.
“Imagine a nation where children and families where no longer dispersed across the globe for economic or political reasons but came back to restored the bread basket and jewel of Africa status.
“Imagine a Zimbabwe for all to build and enjoy equitably.”
IMAGINE – Part of Mujuru’s statement: