HARARE — Zimbabwe’s former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was ousted over allegations of factionalism and disloyalty, said she’s now “been vindicated,” after meeting with her former boss, President Robert Mugabe, who too was ousted from office in November 2017, by the country’s military.
“He called me and I obliged,” recounted Mujuru, who fell out with Mr. Mugabe after he fired her in 2014. “He was telling me what happened was wrong, he was misinformed.”
Mujuru, who has since formed her own party, the National People’s Party (NPP), said she now feels vindicated, after her constant denials of plotting to overthrow Mugabe, were ignored by the then president and his wife, Grace, who initiated the calls for her ouster.
“You know for a start, I told him (Mugabe) that they were not … it wasn’t me,” said Mujuru, of her attempts to convince the man she looked up to as a father, that what he was hearing was incorrect. “Its people who are after Mugabe who you know are doing all these things. And it has, I’ve, I’ve have been vindicated by what I said to him,” Mujuru shared, adding also that she holds no grudge against Mugabe for how he treated her.
“I forgave him a long time ago, including the, the wife.”
Without naming him, Mujuru pointed a finger instead to her former co-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who though also ousted by Mugabe over similar allegations, returned shortly after, with the aid of the military, to now lead the country as president.
“They (Mugabe, his wife Grace) were tricked, and mind you the same people who are now in control are the very same people who went and tricked Mugabe,” said Mujuru, who personally attended and congratulated Mnangagwa on his inauguration. “So, they knew what they wanted to do – they wanted me out of the way first, so that they will be able to get to Mugabe easily,” she said.
Aside from Mnangagwa’s assurances that Mugabe and his family are safe and secure, no one else has publicly attested to seeing Mugabe following his resignation, which took place as his fellow Zanu-PF colleagues were debating his likely impeachment.
Weighing in now, Mujuru said, she was happy to find Mugabe in good spirits.
“He was very happy, I think he’s resting, he’s doing fine,” Mujuru said of Mugabe’s disposition. “I was very happy to see him in that mood.”
While questions persist about whether or not Mr. Mugabe is still being held captive by the military that confined him to his residence while taking over the state, Mujuru said it does not appear so.
“No, not house arrest as such,” she said. “Of course, being a former president he should have people who guard him as soldiers, they could be soldiers and policemen all included, because that is how he used to move, even when he was still head of state.”
Asked whether Mugabe appears free to have visitors at his home, Mujuru said Mugabe is experiencing what she went through after her ouster from the party and government – defection – and that they shared a laugh over it.
“Now that he is in this predicament, aaah, we were actually laughing, you know, I just said to him, ah, you know what, when you are in this situation people desert (you), and he said yes, even relatives have deserted.”
Mujuru’s account of her meeting with former President Robert Mugabe, come in the backdrop of her attack, Thursday, by youth allegedly aligned with Zanu-PF, while she was touring parts of Harare, in her capacity as leader of the National People’s Party.
As opposition political parties start preparing for elections, whose date has not yet been announced, several parties have raised concern over increasing levels of violence.
According to Mnangagwa, elections will be held within the next few months.
Mujuru blames the government of President Mnangagwa for the attack, which resulted in her and several of her members, seeking treatment at local hospitals.
“Everybody must know that this government is not a people’s government,” she said. “It came by force and if they see people doing things in peace, they are not happy.”
Mujuru, who served as Mugabe’s deputy for 10-years before her ouster, said she was disheartened at the living conditions of people in high density suburbs like Highfield, Glen Norah, Glenview and other areas where she visited.
ALMOST SHED TEARS
“If you were to see the conditions at which these people at Glenview furniture complex are working under, you really shed tears. I was walking across the premises in dirty, you know, you know, water, and I don’t know why they are still not sick,” Mujuru said of the deplorable conditions people live in.
Taking a jab at her political rival President Mnangagwa, who is the candidate for the ruling Zanu-PF Party, Mujuru raised issue with the government’s failure to use the country’s rich mineral resources, to lift citizens out of poverty.
“To tell you the truth, you can’t say that situation is a situation should be witnessed in Zimbabwe during this day and age, when we are a country that has loads of diamonds, lots of gold, lots of platinum, and we can’t even use those resources to improve the living conditions of our people. It’s unheard of, it’s uncalled for.”
Mujuru said she was not sure who attacked her or with what, but that the attackers included soldiers. – VOA