XOLISANI NCUBE –
Embattled Vice-President and outgoing Zanu PF second secretary, Joice Mujuru, on Sunday unexpectedly arrived at Stodart Hall in Mbare to pay her last respects to the late national hero, diplomat Kotsho LIody Dube, who died in his sleep last week.
Mujuru, who has not been seen in public in the last two weeks and under fire for alleged corruption and treason charges, arrived at the hall where hundreds of senior government officials and security chiefs had converged, waiting for President Robert Mugabe to arrive to lead the body viewing process.
In her official government vehicle, accompanied by security details, the beleaguered vice-president forced her way through despite attempts by Zanu PF party hardliners to shove her out.
Some government ministers and security heads who were already inside the hall, including Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs and potential successor to her post, Emmerson Mnangagwa, stood up as per etiquette to honour the country’s second in command, but she ignored them totally, instead heading straight to the bereaved family to pay her condolences.
Instead of joining other government officials who were waiting for President Mugabe to arrive in less than 20 minutes, Mujuru quietly walked out and left the venue.
When she was outside the hall, some Zanu PF supporters in party regalia booed her, but she ignored them and drove off.
A witness said: “Some police officers and plain cloth security personnel tried to stop her but they failed as she forced herself in.
“She went straight to where Dube’s widow Agatha and family were sitting and consoled her before she left. We thought she was going to join other government officials, but she surprised everybody by walking past them to her vehicle which was just close to the entrance”.
According to sources close to her, Mujuru did not sit and wait for Mugabe to lead the funeral procession as she felt that she would be embarrassed and humiliated following a two months long barrage by the First family on her with allegations of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe.
“She went to pay her last respect to the family of the national hero as respect to those she worked with, she feel betrayed for what has happened in the party hence she could not stay. She is a human being who has feeling just like everyone,” said a source close to her.
“What is important is she paid her last respect to the family and the hero. Whatever happens to her now is in the hands of those in authority. As far as I know her, she has done what is best for her. In politics this happens, but what is important is she must have stamina to live after her downfall and be able to be a normal Zimbabwean and this she will do.”
After paying the last respect in Mbare, Mujuru did not attend the burial at the national Heroes Acre.
Mujuru did not attend the just ended Zanu PF 6th national people’s congress which ended Saturday either and did not even bother to explain her action- a move her backers said was necessitated by threats announced by the youth league who said they would not allow her near Mugabe.
“With all those allegations and statements from the war veterans and youths, it was difficult for her to go and attend the congress whose outcome was known. It’s clear that her presence was not welcome,” said the source.
President Mugabe, addressing delegates at the congress, said he did not bar Mujuru from attending the indaba.
Turning to the burial of the late diplomat, President Mugabe said unlike other former war comrades, Dube served his country and party ‘diligently and at no point did he get a report of being a sellout.
“We need the lessons of his illustrious life those of us who often think that Zimbabwe needs a white man to prosper. We need the lessons of his impeccable career. Not once did we get an adverse report suggesting that any deviation from the path of principle or integrity,” he said.
Dube died last week in his sleep and according to Home Affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi, before he died, he had promised to donate a beast for the just ended congress and was expected to attend.
According to the obituary presented to mourners, Dube was a career who before independence, represented Zapu at the United Nations where he covered South America with his mandate to broadening to cover the United Kingdom, Scandinavian countries and the whole of Western Europe.
After Independence, Dube was an ambassador for Zimbabwe in Zambia, Nigeria and France. He also covered Spain, Portugal, the Vatican and Unesco.
Besides being a diplomat, Dube was a board member for the state broadcaster and the national Railways among other institutions.