VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru’s close ties with the West were some of the reasons behind her fallout with President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.
FELUNA NLEYA/MOSES MATENGA
Highly-placed sources in Mugabe’s office yesterday said that fears in Zanu PF by hardliners were that given her close links with the West, particularly the United States, she could reverse the “gains” of the liberation struggle, in particular the land reform programme.
First Lady Grace Mugabe and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa loyalists are pushing for the ouster of Mujuru, a decade after she assumed the Vice-Presidency. Grace confirmed the “fears” yesterday, alleging that Mujuru would bring back the pre-1980 era if she took over as President while addressing war veterans who were at her orphanage.
“There are plenty of people who can run this country, not Mujuru . . . We cannot go back to where we were before independence,” Grace told the gathering.
Her close links with the US were revealed in the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks cables when she clandestinely met with former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray “under cover of darkness” on December 6 2009, after dodging her security and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Other Zanu PF senior officials such as Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who are reportedly in the Mnangagwa faction, also had secret meetings with US embassy officials, according to the WikiLeaks.
“There are two VP vacant posts as we speak. We will know the way forward after this week’s politburo meeting,” the source said.
“Where do you think all the people in Zanu PF who are attacking Mujuru are getting all that power from? It is clear that with her, the country is at risk, we don’t want to go back to the pre-1980 era and there is a feeling that she can take us there as it seems like she has a soft spot for the West.”
The source added: “Zimbabwe cannot go back to that era before 1980. We want someone who will protect the revolution of the country, but with her, we can’t trust.”
Another source said Mujuru’s fate would be sealed at the watershed Zanu PF December elective congress.
Mujuru has been receiving a barrage of acerbic attacks from Grace during her rallies, including at yesterday’s meeting with war veterans where she called for the latter’s resignation.
WikiLeaks, quoted by various publications in 2011, disclosed that Mujuru held meetings with Ray at a secret location on the outskirts of Harare.
“No CIOs were present and Joice Mujuru also doubled as a hospitality matron: The Vice-President had managed to shed all of her [presumably CIO-infiltrated] security. She herself poured tea. The meeting was friendly and respectful; at the end Mujuru said she would like to meet again and continue the conversation . . .” the leaked cable showed.
“Mujuru . . . wanted to ensure that the meeting with the US ambassador was private and undisclosed. Zanu PF government officials normally will not meet with us unless a request has been made to the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. The MFA then schedules the meeting and sends a note taker. Through a Mujuru advisor, David Butau, we requested an informal meeting to better establish a relationship and facilitate an exchange of views.”
Another Zanu PF source revealed that Mugabe was firmly behind the anti-Mujuru campaign led by his wife Grace as some in the party felt they could not trust the VP with the leadership of the party.
Her woes have also been compounded by her late husband General Solomon Mujuru’s alleged involvement in the formation of Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) project which Grace recently claimed was set up in their [Mujurus] house.
The WikiLeaks cables showed how close Mujuru’s husband was to the West, particularly the US, hence the moves to block her ascension to the apex of the country. The source said the Mujuru camp had put itself under severe pressure when known individuals in civic society said Zimbabwe was already in the “post-Mugabe era”, a statement suggested to mean that Mujuru was leading in that era.