When Vice- President Joice Mujuru described herself as “President Mugabe’s runner-girl” last year many believed she was buckling under pressure amid frank discussions about factionalism tearing Zanu PF apart.
Opinion by Kholwani Nyathi
But her weekend statements claiming her boss was anointed by God to rule forever will raise questions about her suitability to lead this country in future.
Last November the 58-year-old Mujuru was at pains to convince a Zanu PF Harare province meeting that she is not at the forefront of a faction jostling for control of the party in the event of Mugabe deciding to step down or dying in office when she declared herself a “runner-girl”.
For a long time, the Mt Darwin West MP and one of Zimbabwe’s longest-serving Cabinet ministers had been rumoured to be involved in a tussle for power with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
At times the infighting had been outright dirty especially among their supporters within the Zanu PF structures.
While the two have been at pains to present themselves as having good relations, the rivalry among their supporters at various levels of the party’s structures is clear evidence of the deep-rooted factionalism.
The so-called Tsholotsho Declaration where a clique of Zanu PF leaders clandestinely plotted to block Mujuru’s ascendancy to the VP’s position in 2005 was the first time the factionalism played out in the public domain.
The Tsholotsho pact was crafted by Zanu PF provincial chairpersons who preferred Mnangagwa for the position that could have put him in pole position to succeed Mugabe.
Mujuru made the infamous “runner-girl” statement, some months after Zanu PF scrapped its district co-ordinating committees following accusations that the factions had manipulated the structures to gain an advantage in the succession race.
“I do not control any people,” she told the provincial meeting. “The people belong to Zanu PF. I am President Mugabe’s runner-girl. I go to his people.”
The statement was a clear admission that Mujuru was not her own person and lacked ambition.
It also reinforced the dominant view that she owed her meteoric rise in both government and Zanu PF to her late husband General Solomon Mujuru.
After Gen Mujuru’s demise, questions were asked if his wife would be able to stay the course. She is certainly proving her critics right by the now too frequent gaffes.
Her bizarre statements at the weekend claiming that Mugabe was anointed will raise more doubts about her credentials.
Mujuru told members of the Apostolic Faith Church in Mhondoro that the 88-year-old leader was anointed at the age of 10 and those fighting to replace him were wasting their time.
“Leaders are anointed by God, making them irreplaceable,” she told her captive audience.
“People are wasting their time by opposing President Mugabe. It was prophesied way back in 1934, when he was only 10 years old, that he was going to lead this country.
“How can a normal person challenge such a leader?”
However, right-thinking Zimbabweans know that this is nonsense.
In 2008, voters, including those belonging to Zanu PF as shown by the bhora musango (anyone but Mugabe) campaign, were ready to show Mugabe the door and he was only saved by the violent intervention by suspected members of the security forces.
Consequences of the intervention led to the front runner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulling out of the runoff poll and Mugabe retaining his position by default.
Over a hundred people were also murdered in the political violence and thousands were displaced.
There is nothing godly about Mugabe’s determination to hang on to power despite clear signs he has overstayed his welcome.
Mujuru, who became one of the youngest ministers at independence, was a novice when she joined government with little formal education.
However, she was determined to improve herself academically, starting from secondary school.
She has attained degrees over the last 32 years, but the tendency to put her foot in her mouth raises questions whether the education has benefited her at all or prepared her for the high office.
Mujuru has also made serious errors of judgment in her career, including the failed attempt to block Strive Masiyiwa from establishing Econet.
Masiyiwa won the licence after many legal fights.
Mujuru angered many when she called the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo “senile” after the veteran nationalist sided with Masiyiwa in the dispute.
It’s now clear that she does not learn from her blunders and Zimbabwe does not deserve such mediocrity.
Her utterances also explain why Zanu PF is stuck with Mugabe despite evidence that he has become a liability to the party.
No one has the guts to challenge him!