Joice Mujuru, former ZANU-PF vice president and now president of the Zimbabwe People First Party, speaks with ‘UpFront’ on Al Jazeera:
- Apologizes for not doing more to address human rights abuses during her time as Mugabe’s vice president: “You have to feel bad and sorry and say sorry to those that have been affected”
- Claims she was kicked out of ZANU-PF for speaking out about human rights abuses: “I’m sure this was the reason why they were in cahoots or clandestinely working against me”
- Denies knowing about the Gukurahundi massacre while it was ongoing: “But who knew that this was a secret army that was going straight to [Mugabe]?”
- Says her controversial claim that she shot down a Rhodesian helicopter as a teenager is true: “It did happen!”
In an interview with Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show,UpFront, Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s former vice president and then senior member of the ruling Zanu-PF, expressed regrets at not doing more to stop human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean government.
“I’m being availed to some of the things that are even shocking,” the Zimbabwe People First Party president toldUpFront host Mehdi Hasan. “I am even asking myself, did these things happen during my days in government?… Surely, for a person who has a human heart, you have to feel bad and sorry, and say sorry to those that have been affected.”
Mujuru, however, did claim that she raised many concerning issues during her ten years as Robert Mugabe’s vice president, which she believes ultimately led to her swift removal from the party in 2014. “It’s on record that I even addressed, and calling and asking who was giving orders for people to go and maim and kill others,” she said. “I’m sure this was the reason why they were in cahoots or clandestinely working against me.”
During the interview, Mujuru was asked whether she knew about the so-called Gukurahundi massacre, when around 20,000 civilians were killed by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland. She denied any knowledge and says she trusted what Mugabe told her. “Of course, you have to believe [Mugabe],” she said. “But who knew that this was a secret army that was going straight to him?”
On the subject of the wealth accumulated by her late-husband Solomon Mujuru’s political and business ventures, Mujuru claimed it was exaggerated. “The estate for Mujuru should have, by now, brought out how wealthy Mujuru was,” she said. “Why is it that they’re still very quiet about those billions of dollars that the world has been told?”
Mujuru insisted that she had no access to her late husband’s fortune, telling UpFront: “It’s all with the courts, what he is worth. You can ask them how much they have managed to identify that belonged to Solomon. And they can tell you.”
When questioned about the multi-million dollar farm she calls home, Mujuru said that even though the farm had been illegally seized from its former owner during Zimbabwe’s war of liberation, she is now looking to make things right. “I want the world to know that since the departure of my husband, I have been hunting for the former owner of Alamein Farm. So that I’m in a position to discuss with him as to the way forward, regarding that farm. Because we know, there’s compensation that was discussed.”
During the interview, Mujuru was also asked about whether she shot down a Rhodesian helicopter as a teenager, a story that has since become legendary in Zimbabwe.
“It did happen!” she said.
To those who claim it’s a fabricated tale, she said, “It’s because their participation in the struggle was very minimal, if not none.”
This UpFront interview with Joice Mujuru airs tonight, Friday, 28 October 2016 at 19:30GMT / 21:30 CAT. The full interview will be available to embed from YouTube after it airs.
For more information, visit www.aljazeera.com/upfront or follow @AJUpfront on Twitter.