Oppah plotted Mujuru ouster

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HARARE – In a new twist to the post-congress Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, it is now being claimed that Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri was the “main author” in the brutal purging on untested allegations of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies from the party.

Oppah Muchinguri

Oppah Muchinguri

Well-placed sources claimed in briefings to the Daily News yesterday that Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is now viewed as the ruling party’s godmother in her home province of Manicaland, had only later roped in controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe to achieve this goal, although she had since fallen out with President Robert Mugabe’s wife “over the spoils”.

“You guys in the media have mostly got this whole story wrong. Oppah was the main player behind the ouster of Mai Mujuru and not Dr Amai (Grace) as you think, who was only roped in to help persuade the president to act.“

She clearly thought then that she would score big, but things haven’t gone according to her plan,” one of the sources linked to Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40),who says he used to hobnob with the minister, said.

Former close Mugabe confidante and ex-senior minister in charge of intelligence, Didymus Mutasa, also described Muchinguri-Kashiri as “one of the main authors” of Mujuru’s fall when he was approached for comment.

Former close Mugabe confidante and ex-senior minister in charge of intelligence, Didymus Mutasa, also described Muchinguri-Kashiri as “one of the main authors” of Mujuru’s fall when he was approached for comment.

“I started to know the president in 1971 when we were together in prison, and I have known him since then. He also used to visit us when we were staying in Bristol (UK). He is a straightforward person and I hold him in high regard.“Even after independence we were very close. We used to like each other very much. Don’t ask me what went wrong because I don’t know. What is now clear is that the G40 and Mnangagwa cooked up the lies but are now fighting for power.

“We now also know that it was Chamu (Muchinguri-Kashiri) who lied to the president about Mai Mujuru. For what reasons I cannot say. But she used her connections to send lies, resulting in the president acting on the wrong advice,” Mutasa said.

Clearly still harbouring hopes of one day meeting Mugabe again despite the two men’s fallout, Mutasa said the only way, at the moment, through which he could reach out to the man he still fondly calls “Baba” (father), was through the media.

But he also realises that the chances of them meeting anytime soon are remote, as Mugabe is surrounded by “many self-serving praise-singers and mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies)” who were determined to stop this from happening and to give the increasingly-frail nonagenarian a “daily dosage of lies”.

One of the sources who spoke to the Daily News said Muchinguri-Kashiri’s controversial slogan at the congress of the Zanu PF women’s league in August last year, when she said “pasi nevanopisira varume mumba” (down with those who burn their husbands in their houses) was a public sign that she disliked Mujuru intensely.

Mujuru’s late husband, the decorated liberation struggle icon Solomon Mujuru, died in a mysterious inferno at the couple’s Beatrice farm, just outside Harare, in 2011.

Repeated efforts to speak to Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday did not bear fruit, with her aide saying she was attending a Cabinet meeting.

However, the minister has previously boasted about her role in Mujuru’s ouster.

“Takaona kuti pane vamwe vakamirira kuti vapinde pachigaro chababa VaMugabe, tikavarova nemunyati, tikavatamba inonzi tingoringo, tikati regai titore Queen mother, mai vauye vatungamirire vazotonga kuti vasazotora chigaro chikuru (We realised that there were some who wanted to oust Mugabe from power, but we were too smart for them and also decided to use our mother [Grace] to thwart their plots),” Muchinguri-Kashiri also said last year.

Ironically, she now finds herself sidelined and in the firing line of the increasingly-influential Grace, as the battle to succeed Mugabe intensifies, amid claims that Muchinguri-Kashiri feels that she was not adequately recognised and compensated for her role in deposing Mujuru.

Instead of being rewarded “for this sterling work that she did”, Muchinguri-Kashiri found herself relegated to the less glamorous post of secretary for transport and communication in the politburo, when it is said that she had hoped to replace Mujuru as VP or at least become the party’s secretary for administration”, a source said.

Mutasa said yesterday that “what goes around comes around”, and Muchinguri-Kashiri was getting her comeuppance, as the mindless bloodletting in the warring post-congress Zanu PF worsened.

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