WASHINGTON DC —
Sacked Vice President Joice Mujuru tells VOA Zimbabwe in an exclusive interview that he never planned to assassinate President Robert Mugabe as being alleged by the head of state and a faction of his party said to be led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mrs. Mujuru told Studio 7’s Blessing Zulu that it is unfair to assume that she wanted to topple Mr. Mugabe after working in his government since independence from British rule in 1980.
“… 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,” she said.
The veteran politician and former freedom fighter, whose Chimurenga name during the 1970s liberation era was Teurai Ropa, noted that she has complied to the president’s request penned in a letter handed to her on Monday asking her to step down.
She said, “… I received it last night at 9:31pm …(indicating) 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?”
Mrs. Mujuru noted that it was too early for her to say she would challenge her dismissal, adding that the president quoted the nation’s new constitution when she fired her.
“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.”
She further said, "I am not a fighting character. I am a trained person. When you receive an order from your senior, you carry it out right through."
She denied accusations that she was plotting to oust the president, stressing she will remain a loyal member of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
“Some people say that politics is a dirty game,” she said. “This time in Zanu-PF, it has become dirtier. I have no capacity of doing those things.”
Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe fired Vice President Mujuru and at least seven cabinet ministers, all allies of the former deputy president.
Mrs. Mujuru and her allies, according to Mr. Mugabe, were allegedly plotting to overthrow the 90-year old president.
The move comes hard-on-the-heels of Zanu-PF’s national congress where Mr. Mugabe was given a fresh mandate in a motion moved by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and seconded by former Zanu-PF Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri.
Tuesday’s development follows accusations from First Lady Grace Mugabe that Mrs. Mujuru was unfit to lead the country; that she was corrupt and plotting to assassinate her husband, among other ills.
Mrs. Mugabe is now the party's new boss of the Zanu-PF Women's League while her husband was this week re-elected to another five-year term as party leader.
Mr. Mugabe, still hailed by some in Africa as a liberation hero, has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 34 years.
He remains subject to travel and financial sanctions imposed by the U.S., Britain and other Western countries that accuse him of rigging elections and ruining Zimbabwe's economy with his policies, especially the forcible transfer of white-owned commercial farmlands to blacks.
NOTE: VOA Zimbabwe Service will give you more details of this interview Wednesday.