HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru has once again said she was on the verge of taking over from President Robert Mugabe, only to be stopped in her tracks by a band of male “chauvinists” and women against her ascendency.
The newly-formed opposition National People’s Party (NPP) leader said this last week in her presentation at the International Sheroes Forum in Ghana, in which she claimed had it not been for resistance by “comrades” within Zanu PF, she could have become Zimbabwe’s first female president.
“When I was almost getting the presidency, as vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the world of male chauvinists could not have any of that. They went on to break their own laws just to get rid of me and sadly, they found willing women accomplices to complete their task,” Mujuru said, without mentioning First Lady Grace Mugabe who led a brutal purge against her.
Mujuru, who was Mugabe’s deputy for a decade and touted as the shoo-in successor to the 93-year-old ruler, was fired from the ruling Zanu PF party and government in December 2014 on charges that she led a “treacherous cabal” to oust Mugabe from power.
At the Zanu PF dump squib congress, Grace compared herself to a football referee who blew the whistle on an offside Mujuru.
Grace used nationwide rallies to slam Mujuru and her sympathisers.
She employed a bitter mix of threats, vitriol and caustic diatribes at rivals in the then VP’s camp.
The NPP leader bemoaned Zimbabwe’s continuing economic implosion and profligacy of its elected officials.
“Our motherland is showing signs of total decay, nothing is working any longer,” Mujuru said.
She added that “leaders that we elected have turned against the people and they would rather buy $1 million rings to wear on the finger instead of medicine for dying children in our hospitals”, in apparent reference to Grace who reportedly splurged $1,4 million on a diamond ring.
Formerly a guerrilla in the liberation war that ushered in Zimbabwe’s black majority rule in 1980, 61-year-old Mujuru is the widow of the late war hero — Solomon Mujuru.
She told her audience drawn across the globe in Ghana that she is working on correcting her past mistakes.
“I have seen a lot, I have made my contributions, I have made mistakes, I have had my lessons,” Mujuru said.
Crucially for her, she still enjoys support from some who hold senior positions in the military, according to her close aides.