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FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has claimed President Robert Mugabe is aware of the circumstances leading to the death of her husband, Solomon, in an inferno that continues to confound the nation five years after the country’s first black army commander died.
By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU/SILAS NKALA
Mujuru, who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), made the allegations in an interview with South African television station, eNCA, insisting that the Zanu PF leader still owes her an explanation on what transpired on the fateful night.
“He (Mugabe) can’t tell me he was not aware or he’s not aware of what happened to my husband,” she said.
Mujuru said her position was backed by what Mugabe has been saying, particularly after her unceremonious expulsion from Zanu PF last year.
“With what he (Mugabe) said, can he excuse himself or really absolve himself? Why did he mention those things in the first place?” she said.
It was not clear what Mujuru was referring to, although there have insinuations Solomon and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai were on the verge of a coalition.
Solomon’s charred remains were recovered from his Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice on August 15, 2011, amid speculation he could have been assassinated by his political foes within the ruling party, who thought he was a kingmaker in the Zanu PF succession matrix.
However, a judicial inquest, whose findings the Mujuru family has disputed, ruled out foul play in the general’s death.
Mujuru, in her interview broadcast on Tuesday, said her husband’s crime was accepting to be part of a Zanu PF succession committee set up by the politburo to choose Mugabe’s successor.
The committee, according to Mujuru, was chaired by the late Vice-President John Nkomo and had Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and her husband as members.
The late former politburo member, Cephas Msipa in the past also spoke about the succession committee, saying Mugabe appointed Vice-President Mnangagwa, Joice and then party chairman, Nkomo to identify the President’s heir.
The committee, Msipa revealed, died a natural death before even meeting once, as Mugabe changed goalposts and blocked discussions over the issue.
Mujuru admitted that Zanu PF rigged previous elections by using soldiers and traditional leaders to instil fear and force the electorate to vote for the ruling party.
“The kraal-heads whipped the people to go and vote for Zanu PF. Asking the soldiers to run Operation Maguta was wrong. Why ask soldiers to leave their cantonments to go and run a political programme?” she said.
Operation Maguta was a government programme implemented in 2004 to supplement agricultural produce in the face of a drought.
Asked why she had kept quiet for so long, while the ruling party continued with its human rights abuses, Mujuru blamed her cultural upbringing, which she said forbade her from questioning decisions made by her superiors.
“Probably, it’s something from our culture that you respect a person to such a level where the majority of the people suffer,” she said.
“That should end. Even if a person is as old as the President, he has to be told to his face.”
The ZimPF leader also spoke about the early 1980s Gukurahundi massacres, saying her party was working on a programme to bring closure to the matter, although she ruled out frogmarching the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court to face genocide charges.
Asked if her government would compensate Gukurahundi victims, Mujuru said she would consult before making a decision.
She also claimed that she had met some Gukurahundi victims and traditional leaders in Matabeleland, but her claims were dismissed by the Dumiso Dabengwa-led Zapu party.
Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa yesterday said Mujuru might have mistaken victims of the 2005 Murambatsvina clean-up campaign staying at Ngozi Mine for Gukurahundi victims.
“Well, just a piece of advice, Mujuru: The people you visited at Ngozi Mine in Bulawayo are not Gukurahundi victims, they are victims of Murambatsvina as committed by your government leaving thousands, if not millions, homeless and destitute,” he said. “That you met one ex-ZPRA cadre there does not turn those people into Gukurahundi victims, but they remain Murambatsvina victims.”