General Solomon Mujuru died a bitter man
By Xolisani Ncube
HARARE – Close friends and allies of Zimbabwe’s first black army commander the retired general Solomon Mujuru have sensationally claimed that the “kingmaker” died an angry man after an ugly confrontation with “novice” politburo members who accused him of selling out by steadfastly refusing to have elections held this year.
Mujuru, 62, perished in a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farm last Tuesday morning. Family members, allies, friends, business colleagues and ordinary people around the country suspect foul play. President Robert Mugabe yesterday described the fire as “inexplicable and horrendous.”
As fresh details of Mujuru’s last moments emerge, it has been said that the late former army commander died fighting for people’s freedoms and wanted Zanu PF to reform and stop being violent against opponents. He is also said to have been clamouring for leadership renewal.
Investigations, interviews and interactions by the Daily News on Sunday with Mujuru’s relatives, friends, and colleagues in the politburo show that at one time, the man who was buried at the National Heroes’ Acre yesterday, at one time stormed out of a politburo meeting after some “novice” members ganged up against him.
Mujuru is said to have shared with close colleagues, his frustrations in dealing with hardliners in Zanu PF and his fears of further confrontations with colleagues at the next politburo meeting which he would have attended had he not died. The Daily News on Sunday managed to track down and speak to the late Mujuru’s colleagues who spoke about his frustrations and anger.
According to some close Mujuru allies, the late popular general was worried that novices in the party, some of whom fled from the liberation struggle and some who had not participated at all in the struggle, were now seemingly getting more powerful and were not willing to listen to him. It has also emerged that just before he died, Mujuru was complaining of being abused and belittled by the politburo novices.
“The General was a worried man who feared that the ideals of the liberation struggle were being thrown away by a few opportunistic individuals who wanted to have elections even when party structures are in shumbles. They accused the general of opposing elections to protect his business interests, and of being too close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party.
“Rex was opposed to the idea of holding elections this year because he knew it would destabilise the economy, he knew Zanu PF would engage in violence and as you know he was against that. Rex was insisting that elections should be held after the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and if you notice, he shared the same view with his wife.
“He was advising his colleagues that elections should be held at the end of 2013 but he received a barrage of abuse from one particular, talkative politburo member.
“He was accused of trying to delay elections so that President Mugabe would be incapacitated and the wife would take over. It was a whole sinister plot against the general,” said a close colleague of the late Mujuru. A politburo member corroborated this and added that Mujuru was fighting for Zanu PF to choose a younger successor to Mugabe.
Some politburo members who were opposed to Mujuru rushed to the conclusion that this meant he wanted his wife to be catapulted to the top job in the country. But the general meant well, according to the politburo member. He said it was clear to Mujuru that if Zanu PF went into elections now, they would be heavily trounced due to lack of support around the country.
“The last few encounters I had with the General were very touching. He was complaining about the attitude of certain individuals who supported the idea of having President Mugabe as the party candidate for the coming elections, without considering the future of the party.”
“The general wanted elections in 2013 so that President Mugabe and the party could groom a successor who would take up the top post but individuals, especially those from other factions fiercely opposed this. Mujuru felt isolated, he felt humiliated, especially being embarrassed by people who joined the party well after independence.
“He felt he needed more protection from President Mugabe but he did not get it. It was frustrating and he would talk about these issues with close associates. At times he would almost cry saying Zanu PF had been hijacked by people who wanted to destroy it. He died a bitter man,” said the politburo member.
On the day he walked out of the politburo meeting over a heated debate and clash with a newcomer into the politburo, Mujuru told his allies that he did not want to be associated with certain decisions made by some party officials who seemed to be working to destroy Zanu PF from within.
“The General also was not happy with some inclusions in the politburo but you must understand he was a lonely voice, he was the only one who could argue with Mugabe while the rest were yes men. Now the politburo is full of useless bootlickers who just go there to endorse everything.
“When Mujuru walked out, he started receiving calls from some politburo members who wanted to persuade him to have a change of heart and join the rest in forcing through an election. They wanted to force him to agree to things he did not want but as a principled man he said no.”
Zanu PF has been fighting to have elections this year, with or without a new constitution, but regional leaders, civic society organisations and other political parties want free and fair elections to be held once a democratic electoral roadmap is put in place.
“The fact that throughout his life he never sloganeered or looked down upon Zanu PF opponents shows you what a professional and nice man he was. He never said ‘Pasi naTsvangirai’ (Down with Tsvangirai) and some mistook this for being close to the MDC leader. But the general was just a reasonable person who understood Zimbabwe beyond Zanu PF,” said close ally of the late Mujuru.
Mujuru’s death is a major blow to all political parties as he was a mentor who believed in democracy and the people’s power as opposed to the power of the gun.
Last week his wife Joice was forced to calm rising tempers as youths and family members wanted to know the truth regarding his death. Some family members told our sister paper, the Daily News last week that they would have to go for foreign forensic investigators in a bid to uncover the truth about Mujuru’s death. Zanu PF went further to gag any party member from commenting on the matter fearing violent reactions. Daily News on Sunday