Former Vice President Joice Mujuru says opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai owes her and her late revered husband, Solomon, a huge debt of gratitude for helping to engineer President Robert Mugabe’s stunning defeat by the MDC president in the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.
“Anyone who has a sound mind and a bit of memory would know that Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections partly because of the role that Zanu PF members aligned to Mujuru played to ensure their supporters voted for Zanu PF MPs and ward councillors, but voted Tsvangirai for president.
“If that is not true, then what is Bhora Musango?” NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said in a controversial statement yesterday which both Zanu PF and MDC supporters may find highly objectionable.
“If one of the sins that Mugabe accuses Mujuru and the late General Solomon Mujuru was engineering his defeat in 2008 through Bhora Musango, and Mugabe came out publicly on this while addressing a group of Zaoga church members at Zegu (Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University) in Mazowe last year, does it make sense to allege Mujuru was involved in rigging Tsvangirai (sic) who had benefitted from Bhora Musango?” Mawarire added.
Tsvangirai and the MDC beat Mugabe and the ruling Zanu PF hands down in the historic, but hotly-disputed 2008 polls, whose results were withheld for a suspiciously long six weeks by stunned authorities, amid widespread allegations of ballot fraud and tampering.
Solomon, the revered liberation struggle icon and Zimbabwe’s first black military commander, was subsequently accused by Mugabe and other Zanu PF bigwigs, together with his wife, of having engineered Mugabe’s thumping defeat by Tsvangirai.
In the ensuing sham presidential run-off which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in a murderous orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed in cold blood, forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether, days before polling.
Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.
However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would have none of it, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five years, to prevent the country from imploding completely.
Mawarire’s statement yesterday came as Mujuru has come under withering attack from many quarters, following her recent interviews in the United Kingdom where she denied having taken part in human violations during her time in Zanu PF.
But Mawarire said claims that Mujuru had participated in rigging elections against Tsvangirai were devoid of any truth.
“There are many accusations that have been made against Mujuru, but the underlying factor is that either those that make the allegations do not know her, or they are just malicious Zanu PF functionaries who have made it their vocation trying to soil her otherwise impeccable reputation.
“To understand Mujuru, it is imperative to enter into her political world and schemata and appreciate her understanding while in Zanu PF, that the dictatorial system of governance in the country was hinged on one man.
“Therefore to dislodge the system easily then, one had to work out a plan to remove Mugabe through existent party structures at congress,” Mawarire said.
Mujuru has been working behind the scenes with Tsvangirai and other leaders of smaller parties towards the formation of the mooted grand opposition alliance, which has been on the cards for a while.
However, question marks have been raised over her role and influence in the proposed coalition following her nasty public fallout with Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.
This nasty divorce led her to form NPP — barely a year after she joined opposition politics.
The former vice president was hounded out of both the government and Zanu PF together with Mutasa and Gumbo on untested allegations of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe.
Recently, Mutasa cast further doubts on Mujuru’s pedigree to lead the mooted opposition coalition when he praised Tsvangirai, saying he had persevered against all odds in his push for a more democratic Zimbabwe.
“For me Tsvangirai is the natural leader of the coalition because of who he is … What the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) is today stands for what Tsvangirai and the MDC built. The rest of us are latecomers in this game,” Mutasa told the Daily News.
“As a party we cannot accept a situation where Mujuru leads the coalition having proved her lack of capacity with ZPF, although she is welcome to be part of the coalition because we need everyone,” he added.