HARARE – Hounded former vice president Joice Mujuru maintains that she is not afraid of the ruthless and unrelenting onslaught on her — including murky allegations of plotting to oust and assassinate President Robert Mugabe, as well as a battery of corruption, abuse of office and extortion charges that she faces and that are being “investigated” by police.
Reacting to weekend reports that her arrest by police was imminent, the widow of liberation icon, the late Solomon Mujuru, said she was at peace with the world and would face whatever was thrown her way.
In a brief telephone interview with the Daily News, the seemingly unfazed Mujuru — who has faced an avalanche of unspeakable abuse over the past few months from Mugabe’s wife Grace and other party hardliners — said all will be well in the end.
“It is not a problem,” she said of the speculation around her supposedly imminent arrest by the police.
Contacted for comment on the speculation, national police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the development.
“I don’t have an update on that matter (the purported looming arrest),” Charamba said.
Lickspittle State media have been reporting over the past few weeks that police were supposedly rounding up their “investigations” regarding sleazy dealings that she allegedly committed while she was still in high office.
Police also stormed the Harare head office of the country’s leading newspaper, the Daily News, last month after Grace lied maliciously and egregiously that Mujuru owned a 10 percent stake in the paper late last year.
Police went to the extent of obtaining a court order from Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe on December 18, 2014, which authorised them to search and seize key documents pertaining to the ownership of the newspaper’s parent company, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ).
Not only is this information easily obtainable from the Registrar of Companies and from statutory media regulation body, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, a casual perusal of the warrant of seizure that the police used suggested that they already had this information anyway, rendering their mission wholly suspicious and pointless.
The quarrelsome and increasingly influential Grace first made the false claim that Mujuru bought the fictitious stake in the Daily News while addressing one of her controversial “Meet the People” rallies at her vast Mazowe business hub in late October last year — a ginormous fabrication that she went on to repeat on a number of other occasions.
Mujuru’s comments yesterday were in line with what she told the Daily News early last month when she said far from being stressed by her persecution by her erstwhile Zanu PF colleagues, she was actually “enjoying the dawn of a new year” at home and preferred to enjoy her peace without intrusions from the media.
Further asked then if she was not afraid of all the police “investigations” into her life, including the false allegations that she owned a stake in the Daily News, she said, “Hazvina basa izvo (That does not matter)”.
Political analysts have said that Mujuru’s continued harassment betrays the fact that although she appeared to be down and out, her detractors realised that she remained a force to reckon with both within Zanu PF and outside the party — and thus needed to be dealt with “once and for all” so that she could never bounce back in future.
Number two to Mugabe for 10 years and for many years tipped to become Zimbabwe’s first woman president and only the country’s second post-independence leader, Mujuru has also previously said that although she was grateful that she had had her time in office, life now needed to go on.
Mujuru was fired in December last year at the instigation of Grace who had threatened to deal with the former VP herself if her nonagenarian husband did not dismiss her.
Mugabe has openly admitted that Grace tells him what to do.
But instead of being hostile, Mujuru has surprised both friends and foes alike by being conciliatory to her party enemies, going to the extent of congratulating some of her persecutors when they were appointed into Cabinet, and quietly retreating to her farm.
The speculation around Mujuru’s alleged imminent arrest comes as some Zanu PF stalwarts who are aggrieved by the recent turn of events in the ruling party have now almost completed putting their papers together, amid talk that it is now a matter of time before they launch their mooted court action.
“My understanding is that all the papers for the court action are virtually ready and that it is now a question of timing when these will be lodged. It is imminent and this can happen anytime now,” a Zanu PF official who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation said yesterday.
Efforts to contact former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, who has been playing a leading role in the quest by party stalwarts to force the ruling party to reverse all decisions that were taken at its disputed damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare last December, failed yesterday.
But former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News’ sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend that the court challenge would proceed soon.
“It’s going to proceed,” he said.
Asked further whether Mutasa had had an opportunity to engage with Mugabe since the president came back from his long holiday, Gumbo said, “He has not yet talked to president Mugabe since he came back,” adding that the reasons why the two had not been in touch could only be clarified by Mutasa himself.
Gumbo also said Mutasa had not yet been served with papers for Zanu PF’s planned disciplinary hearing against him.
But doubts remain whether Mutasa will attend the hearing given that he has said that he does not recognise the Zanu PF leadership and party constitutional amendments that emerged from the disputed congress.
However, Pupurayi Togarepi, the Zanu PF youth league chairperson, has insisted that Mutasa’s proposed hearing would proceed whether he turned up or not.
Togarepi, who is one of the six-member disciplinary committee set up by Mugabe to deal with Mutasa’s alleged misdemeanours, said the committee’s verdict would not be dependent on whether Mutasa attended or did not attend the hearing.
The other members of the committee, chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, are Patrick Chinamasa, secretary for legal affairs; Savior Kasukuwere, political commissar; Kembo Mohadi, secretary for security; and Mugabe’s wife Grace, chairperson of the Women’s League.
But legal experts say the planned disciplinary hearing against Mutasa had “fatal defects” even before it got off — particularly because almost all of the committee members who were going to look into the case had allegedly “compromised” themselves already.
In the meantime, Zanu PF’s propaganda war has gone a notch up with another faceless Facebook character, in the mould of the controversial Baba Jukwa, surfacing in recent months and dishing out damaging titbits about the ugly goings-on in the ruling party.
The intrepid political gossip phenomenon, going by the name Zimbabweans for Prosperity (ZFP), already has more than 13 000 likes in the months it has been running.
However, it is believed that hundreds of thousands more people are accessing the page anonymously daily for fear of ending up being accused by thin-skinned officials of being associated with the Internet troll, as happened to some during the Baba Jukwa era.
Like Baba Jukwa before it, it comes across as intimately connected to and in the full know of many of the ugly goings-on within Zanu PF — dishing out a steady stream of sensational claims about the party and its bigwigs, from the days of the liberation struggle to the present.
The page, which uses both Zanu PF and Baba Jukwa lexicon such as Aluta Continua and Asijiki, was created after the disputed July 31, 2013 elections, but only started blowing full steam following the recent worsening of ructions in the ruling party.
ZFP has a cover photo with questions like “why did you go to war you Zanu PF idiots?” and “Where are 2,2 million jobs Zanu PF maggots?”