FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has made up her mind to challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 presidential elections, one of her most vocal backers has said.
Former State Security minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa — who was expelled from his government and party posts together with Mujuru — told Reuters news agency yesterday that the former Vice-President would run for the top office.
“She has gone beyond thinking about it. She will contest and I am confident she will be the first female President of Zimbabwe,” Mutasa told Reuters.
On Monday, Mujuru apologised to Zimbabweans for her role in Mugabe’s government, in a move seen by allies as a step towards challenging him for power.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure described Mujuru’s move as “political repentance”.
“She wants now to regenerate her political career, but she needs first to disown skeletons — and they are many — in the Zanu PF cupboard,” Masunungure said.
Mujuru worked with Mugabe during the 1970s liberation war and after independence and was until last December seen as the leading candidate to succeed him.
But the veteran 91-year-old leader last year accused her of plotting to unseat him from office through unconstitutional means, a charge Mujuru denied. She lost her positions in both government and the ruling Zanu PF party.
Mujuru issued a public statement on Monday, taking blame for Zanu PF’s failure to deliver on promises to Zimbabweans and said her dismissal was inevitable because her vision diverged from that of Mugabe and the Zanu PF leadership.
“For my own role in this failure, I am truly sorry and I apologise to my fellow Zimbabweans,” Mujuru said.
“It is a time in our history for contrition and reflection, for cleansing.”
She declined to comment further when contacted by Reuters yesterday.
Mujuru in April accused Zanu PF of losing focus on the economy, which is slowing sharply.
Mujuru has in recent weeks been attacked for not standing up for her supporters who were axed in the aftermath of Zanu PF’s congress last December.
In her statement on Monday, pregnant with innuendo, Mujuru said she had resolved to serve the nation in whatever role God apportions her, before contemplating on her future and imagining scenarios for the country.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was not available for comment yesterday.
Zimbabwe holds its next presidential vote in 2018 and Zanu PF has already chosen Mugabe, who will be 94 then, as its candidate.
Mujuru (60) is being publicly encouraged by allies to form a political party.