ZIMBABWE – Amid stunning revelations that the Zanu PF faction behind President Robert Mugabe’s embattled deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is reaching out to former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her followers, the widow of the late liberation struggle icon, General Solomon Mujuru, says the idea is “a non-starter”.
Addressing the leadership of her movement, People First, from Matabeleland South province last week, Mujuru vowed that she would never go back to Zanu PF, insisting that “that chapter of my life that had something to do with Zanu PF is a closed one”.
“I know you have heard some people saying she will go back to Zanu PF. Get it from me, kuZanu PF hakudzokwi. Hakuna chiriko (There is no chance of me going back to Zanu PF. There is nothing there)”, she told her lively audience.
Mujuru said when Mugabe was hurling insults and “all manner of accusations” at her, she had kept quiet because she was convinced that she had heard God’s voice telling her to let it be and move on with her life.
Drawing lessons from the biblical Lot who was commanded by God to move out of Sodom and never turn back, lest he would turn into a heap of salt, Mujuru said it was clear to her the message from God was to move out of Zanu PF and never go back to the warring party.
“God used him (Mugabe) and his wife (Grace) to communicate with me that the time to be with the people had come. If his subordinates or someone junior had communicated that message, I probably wouldn’t have heard it the way I did.
“Like Lot, I was told to get out of the party and never look back.
“That is the reason I never answered back to the insults. I know a lot of you really got angry about all that abuse.
“I was thrust on a tree-top and undressed in front of the whole nation, in front of my children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, friends and in-laws. It was embarrassing, but in all this, I could hear God’s voice”, Mujuru said with conviction.
She added that it was “revealing” that Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars had exploded after she was hounded out of the party.
“Some people have been telling me that I was the glue that was holding Zanu PF together because the moment I was sacked, the party imploded.
“The fact that the party imploded shows clearly that I was never the problem. Those that were accusing me of all sorts of things are the problem and as long as they are there, Zanu PF will continue to disintegrate”, Mujuru said with a chuckle and seeming relief.
She said she always knew that it would be a matter of time before Zanu PF’s implosion became “visible to all Zimbabweans” as the cracks within the party had become so wide that they could no longer be papered over — one of the reasons why she and her colleagues in People First had taken their time to launch the party.
“We wanted Zimbabweans to see for themselves what was happening. We said why rush (to form a party)? Now we are hearing there is Team Lacoste and G40. Yet all along they were saying we were the problem.
“Now it’s clear to all and sundry that we were never the problem and that this is the best time for us to form our party. People are now clear about who is the problem,” Mujuru said.
“And here is the remarkable thing, it feels good to meet with the people without bodyguards. When I came back from the liberation struggle and was given a ministry, it disconnected me from the people until I was demoted to being governor of Mashonaland Central.
“That demotion reconnected me with the people and I enjoyed it. I became part of the community. I spent time with them, dressed like them and ate what they ate and when I was made minister again, I had no dress in my wardrobe that was executive. That’s how far it had gone and I thanked God for reconnecting me with the people,” she said.
Mujuru added that she was once again in a similar situation and she was enjoying every bit of it.
“God said it’s good to be vice president, but now go back to the people without bodyguards, be part of the people. This is God’s decision and I said I was not going to question it. That’s why I didn’t get angry with him (Mugabe).
“I knew God was ordering me to be with the people and all I could do was oblige,” she said revealing that the meetings she was currently having with people had both energised and emboldened her to work for the betterment of all Zimbabweans.
The Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, reported authoritatively last week that with the Zanu PF faction behind Mnangagwa feeling the heat of the ruling party’s seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars, the camp was now reaching out to Mujuru and her followers.
Zanu PF insiders told the country’s leading daily — which has consistently and accurately reported on the ugly goings-on in the ruling party over the past five years — that the Mnangagwa faction was feeling so “squeezed” that it was desperately trying to lure back to the ruling party, liberation struggle stalwarts who had been purged from the party on claims of working with Mujuru.
“The wheel is turning. Who would have anticipated that Team Lacoste would one day wish that Gamatox (Mujuru camp) was still within the family fold (Zanu PF). But that is precisely what is happening now as they are desperate to augment their forces,” a party bigwig said.
The Daily News was also told that among the resolutions that were made at the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA)’s meeting that was controversially held at the Presidential Guard military barracks in Harare last week was a decision to approach all war veterans who are working with other political movements such as People First — a move that was confirmed by ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda.
“We resolved to follow up on war veterans who left Zanu PF to join other parties for various reasons, especially those who have gone to People First. We want to reorganise ourselves under the leadership of president Mugabe,” Matemadanda said.
While Matemadanda was reluctant to give the names of the war veterans that the pro-Mnangagwa ZNLWVA were hoping to bring back within its fold, there has been a growing belief within both camps of the Zanu PF war that Mujuru and her allies “are better devils” than their present party opponents.
All this is happening as insiders say Mugabe is in a pickle over how to handle and end the ruling party’s internal wars, pointing to his “tepid” statement when he returned from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia a fortnight ago where he handed over the chairmanship of the African Union.
Well-placed ruling party sources said Mugabe was caught “between a rock and a hard place” as both of the two main factions brawling for supremacy in the former liberation movement boasted of having some of his most trusted lieutenants within their ranks.
“I don’t envy his position at all as he is being asked to choose between a faction linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he has known for five decades, and the other which appears to enjoy the backing of Dr Amai (his wife Grace) and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
“Clearly, therefore, Gushungo is caught between a rock and a hard place and hence his unusually tepid speech on the worsening fights in the party when he returned from Addis Ababa. I suspect that things will get worse before they get better,” a politburo member said resignedly.