FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday hit back at President Robert Mugabe for labelling her a witch and dismissed the allegations as baseless and outright lies meant to divert attention from concentrating on national issues.
By staff reporter
In a statement released last night, Mujuru said her golden silence from the time she was unceremoniously stripped of both her party and government posts last December over allegations of plotting Mugabe’s fall should not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness or guilt.
She also challenged her detractors for debate over the allegations in an open court or public forum.
“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the fantastical and sexually lewd allegations made against me by the leader of my political party Zanu PF on the occasion of his birthday celebrations this past weekend,” Mujuru said.
“I would like to congratulate His Excellency R G Mugabe on attaining 91 years of age and wish him many more birthday celebrations.
“That said, I am at a loss as to how I continue to be the subject matter of Presidential conjecture and fantasy based on outright lies. I was born into the Apostolic faith and once at school, became a member of the Salvation Army. I am a committed Christian and was the leader of Apostolic Churches as patron, and I have been committed to Christian life and values, all of my life.
“It is disturbing that the allegations that I tried to or was part of a conspiracy to assassinate the President have now been reduced to allegations of witchcraft, whose versions change on a daily basis. I am sure even the ordinary Zimbabwean has become tired of this story in its various guises. It’s a charade which has lost steam.”
Mujuru, who had served as Mugabe’s second-in-command for 10 years since 2004, claims her dethronement was engineered by Zanu PF “upstarts” bent on destroying the ruling party from within.
“I have said it before and I repeat it again, handiyite zvakadaro ini (I don’t do such things). I am innocent of all these charges and I am ready to face the allegation(s) in open court or any other public forum within the Zanu PF constitutional structures. I fought for the liberation of this country and hold the ideals of the liberation struggle and Zanu PF close to my heart. I have not betrayed my party nor its leadership.
“I have kept quiet out of respect for R G Mugabe as party leader, and my considered silence should not be viewed as a sign of weakness or guilt. My focus is on nation building and avoiding unnecessary destruction of the party I belong to, Zanu PF, by amafikizolo (political upstarts) who are motivated by self-interest and do not put the people first.”
In his birthday speech, Mugabe claimed that Mujuru roped in two Nigerian witches in an attempt to kill him and other top party officials she allegedly viewed as a hindrance to her political ascendancy.
Mugabe claimed that 10 chickens were slaughtered, each representing the person who Mujuru wanted to have killed, starting with him, his wife Grace, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, among others.
The chickens, according to Mugabe, were beheaded to symbolise the death of Mujuru’s perceived detractors. He also made sensational claims that Mujuru performed the alleged rituals while naked. Mugabe claimed that Mujuru later took the sangomas to her Beatrice farm and slaughtered five sheep as part of the rituals.
Late last year, Mugabe also claimed his former Labour minister Nicholas Goche went to Israel to hire hitmen to assassinate him.
Meanwhile, lawyer and political activist Jacob Mafume yesterday said it was possible for Mujuru to sue Mugabe under the Suppression of Witchcraft Act.
“It is defamatory and abuse of State intelligence and his privileged position to give wild allegations a semblance of dignity. He has used the thin excuse that he presides over State intelligence to give credence to blatant lies which appear to be products of his favourite Nigerian movie,” Mafume said.