WASHINGTON DC —
The past few months have seen an escalation of factional hostilities in Zanu PF that culminated in the dismissal of Vice President Joyce Mujuru from her post by President Mugabe on Monday. Mugabe’s wife Grace, abetted by a grossly partisan State media, led a sustained offensive against Mujuru, accusing her of corruption and plotting a coup against the President.
Perceived Mujuru loyalists were purged ahead of the party’s Congress last week, apparently clearing the path for a group allegedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over the reins of the party when Mugabe decides to step aside. Following her dismissal together with eight Cabinet Ministers, Mujuru opened up for the first time in an exclusive interview with Studio 7. She talked to Senior Reporter Blessing Zulu and below is the full transcript.
BZ: Dr. Mujuru there are allegations that you are corrupt and that you wanted to assassinate the President. What’s your response to that?
JM: I’m happy you said allegations. You know some people say politics is a dirty game, this time in Zanu PF it has become dirtier. I have no capacity of doing those things. There is no way, there is no way; and nobody has ever even suggested to me that these things that you are trying to do VP are wrong. Mind you I have been in the capacity of a Vice President for the past 10 years and I have been acting most of the times His Excellency is away and I don’t think there is anytime, anyone of his security details might tell him that the Vice President when he was acting, invited us to seat over a plot of that nature.
No ways. Mind you I am a Christian, a true Christian. I don’t believe in killing, I don’t believe in hating, I don’t believe in making somebody suffer. It’s politicking; these are some of the things that were started towards Congress. We were some of us, especially myself, was not given a chance to explain even to discuss some of these things. Few times I have been talking about them telling people I have no capacity; I am not in a position to organize anybody to do such harm to anyone. Mind you I have been a patron of the African Christian Council of Zimbabwe, churches of Zimbabwe which has over 700 churches.
These are African formed churches, I’m sure you are quite familiar with them. And for such a person to be a patron to such a humongous organization, you forget about them and you go back and start even practicing witchcraft, you start even thinking about killing somebody, even to assassinate a sitting head of State, it’s unheard of, it’s uncalled for, for what purpose - just me a poor widow. I can’t do that. I’m surprised, and I even spoke about infiltration that has come in our party, I spoke about this in February if not March early this year when I went to address women in Chinhoyi. But nobody took time to ask me what I had discovered or what I had in mind or what I had seen.
These are the things that I wanted us to discuss then about the infiltration that has come in our party. But it does not end my friend (Mugabe) with discharging or dismissing Vice President Mujuru and these other chairmen of provinces, because those people who are doing it still remain in that faction that has remained with the President. They are not there to do anything good to see the future of this party moving forward. I’m not so sure. Anyway, we wait to see.
BZ: When you say the party has been infiltrated Dr. Mujuru, can you name names?
JM: I am not good at dropping names. It’s something that we can discuss in-house, which we will never discuss.
BZ: Since these allegations started coming out, did you have a chance to talk to Mr. Mugabe about them?
JM: I spoke to Mugabe three times on different occasions.
BZ: And what was his response?
JM: He was telling me that he was not aware of what was happening, but to my surprise after having spoken to him the second time he then addressed the youths that were bussed to our headquarters and that is the first time I heard him hinting about him being my head of party who had an understanding of what was going on. His comments that day really left me with a feeling that he had some idea of what was going on and that’s when I started thinking ‘I am sure I am dealing with a situation which is beyond my control.’
BZ: There is talk Dr. Mujuru of a Cabinet reshuffle today, and that you received a letter from Mugabe saying you are no longer Vice President. Is that true?
JM: Very true. I received it last night at 9:31pm.
BZ: What were the contents?
JM: That I was no longer the Vice President of Zimbabwe with immediate effect, full stop! And he quoted Section 106 (1b) of the Constitution which I tried to check but didn’t get; there is only Section 1. Maybe he wanted to say Section 2b?
BZ: But are you going to challenge this dismissal?
JM: It’s still too early for me to say my brother.
BZ: What about your position in the party. Are you going to remain a member of Zanu PF or you are considering opting out.
JM: Mind you I don’t know any other party other than Zanu PF and that’s my party. And I will die in Zanu PF.
BZ: Do you feel safe judging from the attacks that we’ve seen and some party youths threatening you? And your family has not been spared.
JM: Zimbabwe is my country and mind you whatever is going on I have not been able to give my side of the story to the people and only today I managed to release my second statement to the papers trying to give a narration of the other side of the story. So being an elite nation, people are reading and beginning to see which is which. So with time people will begin to see what really went wrong.
BZ: Have you accepted your dismissal?
JM: I am not a fighting character. My background, I am a trained person. When you receive an order from your senior, you carry it out right through. If you had anything to question about that order, you find your way of questioning it. I signed for that letter, this morning; I even wrote a letter of acknowledgement and even thanking him for his immense contribution in my life. And that is how we were taught in ZANLA. That is how were brought up in Zanu PF.
BZ: What were the reasons for your firing?
JM: I’m telling you he quoted the Constitution only.
BZ: And what did he say you did?
JM: In fact he was saying, ‘you were doing things that were not supposed to be done by yourself,’ which include; ‘I’m now reading from 2b of the Constitution because there is no 1b. It says ‘conduct of Vice President, Ministers or deputy ministers.’ 2b but he said 1b, ‘act in any way that is inconsistent with their office or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests.’ And those are the things if I am given a chance to meet our committee in the party, those are the things they should ask me to explain , or those are the things we can talk about if they have them that I have been doing.
BZ: Lastly, an uncomfortable question; there is speculation that the passing of General Mujuru might also be the reason why you seem to be persecuted by some in the party, are you having the same feeling?
JM: You know speculation can be dangerous, so if we are to deal or work with speculation, sometimes we might make very immense mistakes, so let’s not work with speculation. Let’s work with things that are there. It’s better that way.
BZ: We saw you greeting the Army Generals over the weekend. What is your relationship like with the securocrats?
JM: Mind you these are Comrades in arms. Some of them I shared with them the same tranches, though they were in their different camps, the likes of Chiwenga the likes of Shiri, Zimondi; unfortunately my other colleague Sibanda was with Zipra but we were the same Comrades. We belong to the same cause and I have no problem with them. We belong to the same background. It’s only the assignments that we have now that are different.
BZ: Thank you Dr. Mujuru for your time.
JM: My pleasure