Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Joice Mujuru scores own goal

By Benjamin Semwayo

Joice Mujuru is at it again, throwing the planned grand coalition against Zanu PF into disarray by suggesting that only she has the divine right to lead the allied outfit, and will settle for nothing less than the top job.

In happier times: First Lady Grace Mugabe and the then Vice President Joice Mujuru
In happier times: First Lady Grace Mugabe and the then Vice President Joice Mujuru

The former ZanuPF stalwart, who was also one of Zimbabwe’s two Vice Presidents, recently kicked up a fuss over the suggestion that Tsvangirai was the best candidate for the position and, with an air of contemptuous superiority, vociferously insisted that only she is qualified to be president.

Her stance, as far as she is concerned, is not negotiable. This outlandish demand clearly demonstrates what a megalomaniac she is. She is deluded about her political clout and it is surprising she has the temerity to even think of such an idea, given her indisputable lack of support at grass-root level.

The problem with Mujuru is that she is living in the past. She is reliving her ZanuPF days when she was hero-worshipped and venerated alongside Mugabe, a practice that has become so entrenched in ZanuPF that the party’s youth secretary Kudzanai Chipanga made the benighted proclamation that Mugabe is an angel who will sit beside God on judgement day and decide which Zimbabweans go to heaven. She still believes in the ZanuPf mantra that even the inconceivable can be achieved.

For decades Mujuru was made to believe that she was Mugabe’s natural successor but, unbeknown to her the shifting tectonic plates in ZanuPF took her off guard and her dreams suffered a stillbirth when the rug was pulled from under her feet. Now she is in denial and will accept nothing short of the presidency, which she obviously intends to use for exacting retribution on those who schemed her downfall and for protecting her ill-gotten loot.

Mujuru would have us believe that she is hugely popular and would romp to victory in any presidential election, but the stark reality is that she is a nobody outside ZanuPF and will be very lucky to get away with a deputy ministerial post in a new political dispensation under truly democratic conditions.

Her political party has been on the back foot ever since she launched it, and it has been hit by wave after wave of splits, but rather than accept that she lacks the political acumen to steer her party to victory, she will not accept. If she became president Zimbabwe would meet the same fate of cyclic disintegration that has befallen her party. 

Mujuru’ utterances revealed more than she intended, scoring an own goal in the process. She says she is best placed to become the next president because she has a liberation war record and will therefore be readily accepted by the war veterans. In citing this reason she unwittingly shows that she subscribes to the view that in Zimbabwe national leadership is the exclusive prerogative of people with a liberation war record, but the problem is that such a position is untenable because it is unconstitutional. It is the right of every Zimbabwean to aspire to occupy the highest office in the land.

Further to that, she suggests that the views of war veterans are superior to the views of other Zimbabweans. The truth is that the views of all Zimbabweans are equally important, which is why we go to the polls on a one-man-one-vote basis. Even the President’s vote counts as a single vote. So it does not matter whether the war veterans accept a candidate or not. If they do not then that is their problem because Zimbabwe is supposed to be a democratic state.

The total number of surviving war veterans is less than 20 000. How can a mere 20 000 individuals decide the fate of 13 million people? That is what has been happening under ZanuPF’s dictatorship and that is what Zimbabweans are trying to change by implementing true democracy. By identifying herself with ZanuPF’s way of thinking Mujuru is demonstrating that she is prepared to use the war veterans to sway people’s wishes in her favour and is therefore still ZanuPF to the core.  

Mujuru accentuates her links to ZanuPF by arguing that her former ZanuPF comrades will accept her ‘as one of their own’. In making this utterance she is effectively intimidating Tsvangirai, and any other Zimbawean without war credentials for that matter, by suggesting that he should not even think of the presidency because the war veterans will thwart his ascendancy. She is also admitting that she has the same DNA as the ZanuPF oppressors, with whom she was formed in the same mould. She is very much part and parcel of them but has repackaged and disguised herself as an opposition hero.

Her next argument is shocking, to say the least. She asserts that her presidency will pacify ZanuPF supporters because no questions will be asked on who did what. She is telling us that there will be a blanket withdrawal of all questions on all atrocities perpetrated during Mugabe’s rule, and there will be no Truth and Justice Commission as in South Africa. That means that all ZanuPF criminals are assured of protection, no lessons will be learnt from the dark days of ZanuPF’s misrule, and therefore the culture of political violence will continue unabated. ZanuPF murderers, rapists, thieves and looters will all be let off the hook and will have the biggest field day Zimbabwe has ever known.

The question is why would an aspiring president want to blot out the evils of the past without bringing the perpetrators to justice? Why else can it be if it was not because she herself was at the centre of it? Apart from being personally responsible for the torture and murder of opposition activists she has looted national resources on an industrial scale and has eye-watering amounts of wealth squirreled away in soft-shore accounts.

Despite her well-documented role in the atrocities perpetrated by ZanuPF as a party she is now trying to airbrush her image with hollow, self-serving apologies. She has mounted a spirited campaign to distance herself from her ugly past, which only a few people, including Tsvangirai, will gullibly accept hook, line and sinker.

Mujuru says if she became president she would be accepted by the farming community, referring of course to the murderous, state-sponsored farm looters, many of them war veterans, who shed innocent blood for farms and plunged Zimbabwe into a long nightmare of starvation never before witnessed in the history of the country.

Farm seizures were used as a political tool to keep ZanuPF in power after the rejection of the skewed 1999 national constitution and only benefited ZanuPF supports, a very small minority. The majority of Zimbabweans feel that this is an anomaly that must be rectified, but Mujuru says forget it.  

Mujuru is a mafikezolo (Johnny come lately) of opposition politics but since becoming an opposition politician she has done nothing but foment trouble. Tsvangirai did him a huge favour by taking her under his wings and helping to stabilize her floundering party, but she repaid him by stabbing him in the back. If there was anyone who should be grateful to Tsvangirai, it should be Joice Mujuru.

The trouble with Mujuru is that she overvalues herself. She clearly overplays her hand and tries to stake a larger political territory than warranted by the backing she actually has on the ground. She has all the characteristics of a narcissistic Machiavellian. She is only interested in furthering her own interests and will stop at nothing to achieve what she wants. She will manipulate, deceive and exploit others to realise her goals.

For his part, Tsvangirai allowed himself to be unduly hypnotized by Mujuru and seems to believe that without her he cannot overcome the hurdle presented by ex-combatants who will not recognise his leadership because of his lack of war credentials.

Yet Mujuru is a liability, and Tsvangirai’s continued reliance on her against the advice he receives from every quarter is testament to his intellectual bankruptcy and will only result in him hurtling towards his own political demise. How can a right thinking person continue to count on a person who denigrates him so openly and so often? A person with a chequered history like Mujuru’s?

Some people believe that she is a ZanuPF project. That is not impossible.