FORMER Vice-President and opposition National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru has admitted to literally lying when she denied she had no knowledge of government’s Gukurahundi atrocities in the early years of independence.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The opposition leader also indicated that she will reverse all adverse Zanu PF economic policies, including the Indigenisation Act, but denied looting diamonds when she was President Robert Mugabe’s number two.
Mujuru, in several interviews previously, has claimed Mugabe had clandestinely had a crack “Zezuru-only” brigade trained by North Koreans behind the back of members of his Cabinet. The campaign by the elite unit reportedly left over 20 000 civilians dead under the guise of hunting down a handful of armed dissidents.
But Mugabe’s ex-number two was yesterday forced into a spectacular and embarrassing volte-face during an interview on the BBC’s HARDTalk programme with anchor Stephen Sucker.
“Let’s look at the record, you were a minister during the massacres of thousands of people, Gukurahundi, Matabeleland people killed, you knew it, you knew it, but you did not say a word against it,” Sucker queried.
In response, Mujuru sheepishly retorted: “I did not say a word against it, but those were executive orders that were used by the Fifth Brigade. With an executive person, what else would you do?”
But her interlocutor accused her of “not making any sense” by having worked for the same man (Mugabe) she suspected or knew was behind the death of her husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru (pictured).
Just a few days ago, Mujuru claimed Mugabe had sole control over the 5 Brigade such that even her late
husband Solomon, who was head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces at the time, was in the dark. The opposition leader also claimed during a meeting with women in the Diaspora that Mugabe had ordered former army colonel Beta Guveya to “recruit a Zezurus-only brigade from Zvimba”, the President’s rural home.
Mujuru this week also told her audience in London that when she visited Matabeleland during the disturbances, she had a vehicle breakdown and only got to know lately that she had been assisted by “dissidents”.
The former VP told Sucker she was against the destruction of urban settlements by government in 2005 known as Operation Murambatsvina/Drive Out Filth that, according to the United Nations, left over 700 000 homeless and displaced, adding instead she soldiered on trying to “reform Zanu PF from within”.
“There are a lot of things that I did not agree with … it was the situation then when I was working with him (Mugabe) and I wanted to show that things can change even if they are not right,” she said.
Sucker confronted Mujuru with allegations of corruption, including claims she was a major beneficiary of diamond looting from the Marange-Chiadzwa diamond fields.
The BBC news anchor said he had evidence of diamond miners working in mines allegedly owned by the former VP, including a report that her daughter had approached First Star, a company dealing in diamonds, about a major deal.
“You think if I had all that richness I would be suffering like I am right now? … It was a joke, these people never saw me there and I have never been a miner. I have never been a miner,” Mujuru retorted, adding: “She (referring to herself) is poor and struggling to eke out a living from the farm which she grabbed from a white farmer.”
On the economy, Mujuru said she would immediately repeal the Indigenisation Act, a law crafted while she was Mugabe’s second-in-command compelling multinational companies operating in Zimbabwe to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals.
“That law we have already spoken about it as a party that we are going to repeal it, we are going to repeal it, because we are for investment, so they (investors) can come and help us as we rebuild,” she said.
Mujuru served under Mugabe for 34 years, 10 of them as VP.