Joram Nyathi Spectrum
THEN they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Joice was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Joice sat down among them.
Then a servant Sackur, seeing her as she sat in the light and looking closely at her, said, “This woman also was with him.” But she denied it, saying, “Sackur, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw her and said, “You also are one of them.” But Joice said, “Man, I am not.”
And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this woman also was with him, for she too is a war veteran.” But Joice said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while she was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
Those who read the Bible will immediately recognise this as a parody of the disciple Peter in Luke 22: 54-60. It has the subhead, Peter denies Jesus.
It is to dramatise the performance of our very own Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru in a starring role in London last week, a week when she was given an award for women in leadership, a week when the world celebrated International Women’s Day, a week when Zimbabweans honoured and celebrated the achievements of our mothers and sisters. She denied everything that is Zanu-PF.
It was a week when Dr Joice Mujuru, as leader of the latest political formation, the National People’s Party, should have stood proudly as a role model for the girl child; instead of which she did irreparable damage to womanhood as an aspiring leader of this nation.
In interviews with Stephen Sackur on BBC’s HARDTalk, she sought to deny her past, and stepped into the wilderness. Like St Luke’s Peter, she didn’t want to be associated with Zanu-PF, its policies, its Government.
Joice Mujuru was Zanu-PF from the war period. She was in Government for 34 years. For 10 of those she was the nation’s Vice President. She was dismissed in 2014, a dismissal a doting private media described as a brutal purge of a faultless widow of a liberation hero. She was the victim of a ruthless regime, we were told.
In the interview, Sackur all but told her she was talking nonsense. The credibility gap was too big. Cabinet operates on a principle called collective responsibility. Mujuru could have used this as a figleaf. In addition, she could have argued that certain policies were agreed but were not executed as she had hoped.
Instead of which she claimed she didn’t say anything against Gukurahundi because it was an “Executive Order”. She had no role in the land reform programme. She didn’t benefit from it. She only has a farm and a single house to her name. She doesn’t know anything about mining. She has never touched a diamond and she is as poor as a villager in Binga. It is called disingenuous.
It is a kind of mendacity and dissembling to make Lucifer weep with envy. As a senior member of the Salvation Army, Mujuru should know better.
This brave woman of the helicopter fame can’t put up a credible defence of her place in a government which opened so many opportunities for the black majority, expanded education to close to 20 universities, accomplished a key agenda of the liberation war in retaking the land, has done so much to improve the social and economic status of women and the girl child, starting with the Legal Age of Majority.
Literally and metaphorically, Mujuru doesn’t have the “richness” we thought she had by virtue of her elevated position in the national political hierarchy.
She was a clueless if not an unwilling passenger for 34 years.
Mujuru said in the interview she was ready to undo the land reform. She was already in talks to compensate a white former occupier of the farm she now owns. She would review (read reverse) the indigenisation and black economic empowerment policies to attract capital.
Yet it was not disillusionment which made her leave Zanu-PF and Government. For someone so disaffected, she had to be purged, to be kicked out. Afterwards she was in such deep shock that for more than a year she resisted cajoling, inducement, and every trick by the private media to form a political party, no doubt hoping that she might be recalled into the Zanu-PF fold.
No, she said in the interview.
She had a little bombshell for her eager listener. When asked why she remained in Zanu-PF all those years in that dystopian state, Mujuru repeated over and over that she hoped to change things from within.
She didn’t say what she would retain if she became president of the republic. It was her erstwhile enemy and now suitor MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai instead who spoke in defence of the Constitution and what it says about the land reform.
This is what Tsvangirai said, which would have been better believed had it come from Mujuru; “… we have no intention of stripping anyone of their land save only to address issues of inequality in the distribution and productivity on the land that genuinely belongs to us as Zimbabweans … True, there will be rationalisation in the allocation of land without any reversal of the sacred principle that Zimbabweans must own their land.”
One doesn’t have to believe Tsvangirai’s self-serving assurances given his clumsy overtures to war veterans. But his words would have had a ring of sincerity coming from Joice Mujuru. Yet she is too cowardly to confront her past with honesty, she would rather venture into the wilderness. For how does she form a coalition with Tsvangirai who now purports to take ownership of the land by Zimbabweans as a “sacred principle”?
There is a tragic irony to it. Here is a woman who spent much of her adult life under the mentorship of one of the most astute politicians on the continent exhibiting incurable incapacity to be a political leader. Here is a widow of a national hero telling us she doesn’t support the policies her husband championed as a member of the Zanu-PF Politburo.
Here is a woman whose sole attraction for the opposition MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai was that she might bring along with her the much-needed support of war veterans now denouncing what the same war veterans sacrificed their lives for – land, and most of them are major beneficiaries of the same.
Without the support of war veterans, even of the most dubious type, she has no constituency. More importantly, she has no appeal to Tsvangirai and his MDC-T, not to mention that there was always suspicion swirling about her because she is seen as Zanu-PF in and out.
Her former colleagues in the ill-fated Zimbabwe People First said they wanted to remove her from the leadership because she was incompetent. She has just gone over the top to confirm this, and why Zanu-PF didn’t lose anything by firing her. She can’t lead. In the week when she was given an award for women in leadership in London, she let down the womenfolk.
The only thing about which she showed certainty was that she was negotiating a coalition with Tsvangirai. She isn’t aware she has lost the charm of liberation war credentials. Put simply, without war veterans she adds not value to Tsvangirai and the MDC-T.
She has betrayed women. She can’t be a female leader. She is back to being led by men, even those at the very deep end of their wits.
But the prognosis is no brighter for the opposition as a whole. Get it from the inimitable Biti’s “appeal to Tsvangirai”. “Our failure to come together and our permanent state of fumbling, blundering and mediocrity is making Mnangagwa’s takeover inevitable.”
Hopefully, Justice Makarau gets it. The opposition is fully aware of its fate, come 2018. It has nothing to do with ZEC.