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ZIMBABWE – Amid claims that President Robert Mugabe no longer believed that
former Vice President Joice Mujuru had plotted to oust and assassinate
him, it is now also being suggested that some post-congress Zanu PF
bigwigs are actively working to lure her back to the warring party.

Sources within both the post-congress Zanu PF led by Mugabe, and its
rival formation fronted by liberation struggle stalwarts — the
“original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First — claimed in
interviews with the Daily News yesterday that with Mujuru seemingly
prevaricating about her association with the People First movement, this
was encouraging some of the nonagenarian’s lieutenants to court the
former VP “to return home”.

A politburo member said with factional and succession wars worsening
within the ruling party despite last year’s brutal purges of Mujuru and
dozens of her close allies, some bigwigs were now actively campaigning
for the former VP to be readmitted to the ruling party.

“If she keeps her silence and stops waffling like what (former
Presidential Affairs minister Didymus) Mutasa and (People First
spokesperson Rugare) Gumbo are doing, there is a good chance that she
will be readmitted.

“Remember, she has a constituency and enjoys a lot of support from the
grassroots. She is not a person one can simply wish away. So it makes
sense to rope her back,” the senior Zanu PF official said.

But Gumbo dismissed the likelihood of this happening, as well as
growing fears within the ranks of the “original” Zanu PF that the party
had been infiltrated.

“That is just talk. I will tell you when the time comes. At the moment we are still working towards forming a party,” he said.

Asked whether Mujuru or anyone in the People First could rejoin Zanu
PF, Gumbo — a close ally of the widowed ex-VP — said “she cannot abandon
the people”.

“As far as we are concerned right now, there is no way we are going
back to Zanu PF, unless if the allegations they made against us are
withdrawn. But even so, what we stand for is different. We want
democracy, we want a corruption-free society.

“They (in the post-congress Zanu PF) know she has support and may want
to use her, but how will she explain to the people that she is going
back to the party that made her suffer. I know they are desperate to
have her because she has grassroots support, but it is not possible to
imagine that right now,” Gumbo added.

However, there are fears within the People First camp that some people
who were given short suspensions from the post-congress Zanu PF could be
fancying their chances of returning to the ruling party before the 2018
elections — while Mujuru’s continued silence regarding her political
future is unnerving some of her supporters, as they fear she could
abandon them at the 11th hour.

“Some people were suspended for two years and that means by 2017 they
could be back in the ruling party and be free to defend their
parliamentary seats. Mujuru should give us the leadership we so
desperately need,” a self-claimed People First follower said.

Other insiders in People First have also revealed that there is
hesitancy among the movement’s rank and file to form a party, as they
fear that some at the top might have “serious skeletons in the cupboard”
which the ruling party would latch on to.

This comes as some analysts have said that Mujuru may be playing her
cards close to her chest to protect her political interests.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Mujuru’s could also be a
calculated strategy to ensure her personal safety and business

“She is seen as the leader of the Gamatox faction. She would rather
leave the others in her flock such as Jabulani Sibanda and Mutasa to
make the noise. On the other hand, she has maintained her loyalty to
Mugabe and has repeatedly indicated that her allegiance to him is strong
despite Mugabe being supposedly misled by some people around him.

“Her silence is a sign of continued respect and loyalty to Mugabe. Who
knows, maybe Mugabe may come back to his senses and realise he was being
misled regarding Mujuru.

“Look at the recent reappointments of Mujuru’s supposed allies like
Fortune Chasi. On a personal level, remember also that the late
General’s estate is still to be executed and there is a lot for Mai
Mujuru at stake,” Saungweme said.

Other observers also say the conciliatory tone that Mugabe’s wife Grace
displayed in her weekend interview with State media was another sign
that the First Family was now aware that it had been misled about the
former VP when they ruthlessly expelled her from Zanu PF.

Sources who spoke to the Daily News at the weekend claimed that events
of the past few months had “clearly shown” Mugabe that some “hyenas”,
and not Mujuru, were behind the seemingly unstoppable factional and
succession wars that continue to devour Zanu PF.

“All indications are that both the president and Dr Amai (Grace) are
now aware that the allegations against Mai Mujuru were a contrived
narrative by some ambitious hyenas who manufactured the plots for their
personal benefit.

“This is why the president has not acted further against Mai Mujuru,
even as these hyenas have continued to push for her to be incarcerated
on account of the false claims of treason that she and others allegedly

“Most people also noted at the weekend that Dr Amai made it very clear
that she felt used by these over-ambitious hyenas who, after
manufacturing the false claims against Mai Mujuru, were now pushing the
equally-false claims that she wanted to succeed President Mugabe,” one
of the sources said.

Grace, who was nicknamed “monya (giant) for hire” in the chaotic run-up
to Zanu PF’s disputed congress late last year, tried to cut a motherly
figure in her weekend interview — a sharp contrast to the belligerent
and uncaring persona that she appeared to actively cultivate at the
height of the ruling party’s internal ructions.

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