Fear has gripped the Mujuru family after Zanu PF openly charged that the late General Solomon Mujuru and his wife Joice, the former Vice-President were involved in a plot to oust President Robert Mugabe from power.
This follows the summary expulsion of Mujuru from the party by the Zanu PF politburo which never gave her an opportunity to respond to a litany of serious charges levelled against her.
General Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno at his Ruzambu Farm in August 2011 and the State opposed attempts by the family for an independent autopsy to determine the cause of his death.
The Mujuru family was suspicious of the manner of his death and was not satisfied with the findings of the government sanctioned inquest which ruled out foul play.
In separate interviews yesterday, Mujuru’s family members and close associates said the vicious attack on the Mujuru family had rekindled their suspicions that General Mujuru had been murdered and now raised the possibility that they too could be targeted.
Mujuru was one of the most powerful people in Zanu PF and was said to be the only person who could look President Robert Mugabe in the face and speak his mind.
There was little doubt that he was the kingmaker in Zimbabwean politics and historians and politicians agreed Mugabe owed his acceptance as leader in Zanu PF to the late general who convinced liberation fighters to accept him in 1976.
Mujuru family members, close associates and friends said following the former VP’s expulsion from Zanu PF on Thursday and the labelling of the late decorated army commander as a coup plotter, they now feared for the worst.
One of Mujuru’s children told The Standard yesterday on condition of anonymity that they now lived in fear, as the claims by the party’s national disciplinary committee could be used by enemies of the Mujuru family as justification to harm them.
She said the way her mother was treated had left her traumatised. Joice has been vilified as a coup plotter, a dishonest person, a witch and morally loose by President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
Mugabe has not relented on his attacks on her, even though the former Vice-President has retreated to her farm where she is engaged in full-time farming.
“She [former VP Mujuru] has gone through a lot in the short period. He [the late General Mujuru] died in 2011 under mysterious circumstances and before we could fully recover, we are unjustifiably hit this hard again. I think the best way for her is to remain quiet and give all to God,” she said.
Mujuru’s daughter said the allegations by the politburo that her father wanted to remove Mugabe could explain why he was killed in the inferno.
“We then begin to suspect whether that was the reason he [Mujuru] died such a painful death. She [Joice] is spending Easter with her grandchildren probably at the farm but news of her expulsion from the party has aroused fears for her life and our lives too. We do not feel safe anymore.”
The Zanu PF disciplinary report presented by legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa to the politburo on Thursday claimed that Mujuru and her husband started plotting against Mugabe in 2004 and were instrumental in the 2008 “Bhora Musango” project which Zanu PF claims cost it elections that year.
“As way back as 2009 the government and the party was aware that Joice Mujuru and her late husband, the late Rex Nhongo Mujuru, were plotting to remove President Mugabe,” the report said.
It was known to the party that they plotted to block the nomination of President Mugabe as the party’s leader at the 5th people’s congress working in collusion with provisional chairmen.”
The report does not however say why no action was taken while General Mujuru was still alive.
Joice was yesterday said to be too busy with numerous Easter programmes at her Salvation Army church to respond to her sacking.
The Standard was however told by people close to her that she could draft a statement that could be released after the holidays.
Commenting on Mujuru’s expulsion from Zanu PF, former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “They [Zanu PF politburo] want to destroy roots, trunk, branches and leaves, but I tell you that we have very strong roots and will win in any election. We will continue to support our leader [Mujuru] and the expulsion will definitely have no effect on our support base.”
Analysts said the firing of Mujuru from Zanu PF was clear indication of the fear in the rival camp who felt Mujuru remained a threat for as long as she was in the party.
Academic Ibbo Mandaza said: “For me, it’s a self-obituary on Mugabe PF. That has nothing to do with the Zanu we know. It’s interesting to see that latter day lawyers like [Patrick] Chinamasa are preparing the charge sheet against Mujuru. It’s a bunch of outsiders passing judgements on liberation heroes.”
Another analyst Charles Mangongera said: “This is the calculation on the part of Machiavellian schemers in the Mnangagwa camp. They see her [Joice Mujuru] as a threat to their ambitions and had to make sure she is out of the picture because if Mugabe is gone either naturally or otherwise, she would have a legitimate claim that her removal from office was illegal.”