WASHINGTON, DC —
Leader of the newly-launched Zimbabwe People First Joice Mujuru, emerged emboldened and daring, as she raised allegations against her former boss, President Robert Mugabe, and his wife, Grace, like never before, in an interview Wednesday, with the Associated Press.
Looking calm but determined to stand her ground, the former vice president took a sharp aim at her former boss, in her new role as the leader of an opposition party, challenging his leadership.
"I really don't know where the family or the president and his wife want to take this country to,” Mrs. Mujuru said. “But the end result is they are actually destroying Zanu PF, they are destroying the revolution.”
Mrs. Mujuru stuck to her claims that the charges against that she was disloyal to President Mugabe that she planned to topple him, were “lies.”
“I for one, if I want to say that, I did nothing,” said Mrs. Mujuru. “All those accusations were lies.”
The former liberation fighter said her ouster from the party following its elective congress in 2014 with others accused of siding with her, was a targeted move by President Mugabe and the party to rid itself of former liberation cadres.
“It looks like they are hunting down everybody who took part in the struggle.”
Mrs. Mujuru contradicted President Mugabe’s assertions that there were channels within the party where disgruntled members of the party who have taken to fighting publicly and forming factions such as Team Lacoste, which reportedly supports Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Generation 40 (G40), which is said to support First Lady Grace Mugabe, could lodge complaints and get fair recourse.
Citing her own experience, prior to her expulsion, Mrs. Mujuru said President Mugabe was not accessible and did not entertain grievances.
"Even when you try and seek for audience to try and reason with him, he does not give (it) you. During the time that I was with him I asked for that which never came, that's why I left."
Contrary to acknowledging in the past that she was dismissed by President Mugabe in writing, Mrs. Mujuru stated that she in fact left the party on her own will. She further suggested that President Mugabe was planning to pass on the baton of his legacy to his family.
"I am sure it's handing the power down from father to wife, to daughter, to son - maybe that's what they want, to make it a dynasty."
Sparing no punches for the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, with whom she received her Ph.D. from the University of Zimbabwe in 2014, Mrs. Mujuru, suggested that “the young wife”, as she referred to Mrs. Mugabe, was the cause of much of what was going wrong in the party, referencing the peace that existed under President Mugabe’s first Ghanaian wife, Sally, who died 1992.
"Because when Mama Sally was still alive things were different,” she said, continuing that “once this one came (Mrs. Mugabe) and before she was involved in this politics, I thought she was somebody else who was accommodative, who was the mother of the nation, but only to find she was someone else."
The former freedom fighter, who was known in her guerilla days as Teurai Ropa (spill blood), is the widow of Solomon Mujuru, a decorated retired army general whose war name was Rex Nhongo.
Mujuru died in a mysterious fire in 2011, which Mrs. Mujuru has since declared suspicious and pinned blame on someone who she says “knows the people in power.”
Putting a distance between her party and other oppositions such as the Movement for Demcoratic Change, the former vice president said her Zimbabwe People First party, has something the other parties did not – a credentialed war veteran like herself.
“Yes, there have been parties, but they (Zimbabweans) have been telling us that in those parties they have been missing revolutionaries, freedom fighters."