HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru says she has accepted her recent dismissal by President Robert Mugabe and wishes him, his wife Grace, the new vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, and all the new Cabinet appointees well.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mujuru said she had “absolutely nothing” against those who had been chosen by Mugabe to replace her and lead the country.
She also dispelled unfounded speculation that she was heading for top US college, Harvard University, to further her studies, saying emphatically that she was staying put in Zimbabwe.
A vice president for 10 years in Mugabe’s government and for many years tipped to become Zimbabwe’s first woman president and only the country’s second post-independence leader, Mujuru said she was grateful that she had had her time in office and that life had to go on.
Asked whether she did not harbour some resentment about the fact that she had first been humiliated and then sacked, she told the Daily News that she harboured no ill-feelings towards anyone.
She in fact, surprisingly, went on to congratulate Mugabe, his wife Grace who led the vicious attacks on her leading to her dismissal, Mnangagwa, Mphoko and all the new Cabinet appointees.
Mujuru was fired last week at the instigation of Grace who had threatened to deal with the former VP herself if her nonagenarian husband did not dismiss her.
Mugabe, who has openly admitted that Grace tells him what to do, duly fired.
Mujuru subsequently, claiming that the popular liberation war heroine had plotted to oust and assassinate him.
The sensational allegations have not only not been proven to date, but Mujuru and all those accused of plotting to assassinate the
90-year-old leader have not been charged either.
“I am congratulating the president for the successful (Zanu PF) congress (that was held in Harare early this month),” Mujuru, who snubbed the three-day gathering after receiving death threats said.
“I also congratulate the First Lady on being appointed the Women’s League secretary. My congratulatory message also goes to all those in the (party’s) central committee and the politburo,” she added.
Asked about her future plans, Mujuru said it was too early to talk about them, although her life “will not stop” because she was no longer in Cabinet.
“Life goes on,” she said.
However, she reiterated the importance of keeping peace in the country and helping to resuscitate the economy.
She also called on the ruling party and its leaders to shift their focus from the current anarchy devouring the movement, to bread and butter issues that would assist long-suffering Zimbabweans.
“We want peace in this country,” she said.
“Hatichada kuramba tichitaura nezve (Let’s move forward from the) congress. Let’s solve the problems we are facing as a country because we are running out of time,” she added.
Political analysts have said that although Mujuru has been thrown into the political wilderness, she remains a force to contend with both in Zanu PF and outside the party — and could bounce back spectacularly depending on how the political situation inside Zanu PF and the country progresses going into the future.
And while some of her political foes have been gloating about their victory over her, Mujuru said the country should forget about the events of the past few months — which
extinguished her political career, at least for now — and concentrate on bread and butter issues.
Still, some hardliners in the ruling party are agitating for more drastic action to be taken against her and her allies, with some calling for her arrest over the murky assassination plot.
Mujuru responded to this by saying that she was “here to stay” and would not leave either the country or Zanu PF.
In the meantime, analysts say there is a real danger that Zanu PF hardliners are manipulating Grace knowing fully well that she now wielded undue influence on Mugabe in his dotage.
In interviews with our sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend, the analysts said all indications were that Grace was now effectively running Zimbabwe and increasingly instructing Mugabe, 90, what to do and who to appoint to important national offices.
This sentiment was made as Mugabe himself had also recently publicly intimated that he is now often instructed what to do by Grace.
Speaking at Zanu PF’s damp squib “elective” congress, the president meekly admitted to the party’s 12 000 delegates that the First Lady tended to direct him on what to say and do, be it at home or while on official engagements.
This was after Grace was seen furiously advising the nonagenarian what to say, even going to the extent of ordering him to sit down at some point because Mugabe was allegedly talking too much.
The analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said the fact that Mugabe had seemingly now carried through all of the commands and threats that Grace had pronounced in the past few months, almost to the letter, meant that the First Lady now wielded undue influence on her aged husband.Life goes on: ex-VP Mujuru