HARARE – Outspoken war veteran and former intelligence officer, Margaret Dongo, has made sensational claims that President Robert Mugabe was so scared of the late Solomon Mujuru that he allegedly watched helplessly as the rapacious former army commander-turned-businessman acquired wealth often through dubious means.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Dongo also said that it was difficult to escape reaching the conclusion that Mugabe was now venting his pent-up anger, and meting out revenge on the fallen liberation icon’s embattled widow, Vice President Joice Mujuru — in the current ugly Zanu PF factional and succession wars.
VP Mujuru was reportedly not involved in any of the deals that factionalists in Zanu PF are using against her.
The former legislator said no one seemed to understand, when the late Solomon Mujuru was still alive, how he could continue to wantonly accumulate wealth irregularly, in open defiance of Mugabe?s wishes.
She said she had once stumbled upon damning information, nailing the revered fallen hero, but none of the authorities, including Mugabe, dared raise a finger against him.
Offering a rare sneak view into the operations of the snooping activities on the top brass in Zanu PF and the government, Dongo said Mugabe was always well-informed about the socio-political shenanigans and business dealings of his lieutenants.
“Mugabe was abused by (Solomon) Mujuru because he was scared of him.
“There is so much that Mugabe knew about Mujuru that is why the intelligence is there.
“I remember when I was still in the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation), I picked some information about Mujuru but nothing was done. Mugabe knew everything including about the diamonds (that he and his wife Grace are now making a big issue about) but there was nothing that was done to the army general,” Dongo said.
Mujuru, whose remains were discovered following a mysterious inferno that gutted his Beatrice farmhouse in 2011, was widely regarded as the kingmaker in the faction-riddled Zanu PF.
Zanu PF veterans say it was on Mujuru’s insistence that Mugabe was catapulted to the leadership of the party in 1977, after initial resistance from senior guerrillas to have the former schoolteacher installed as their leader, as they did not appear to trust him and his capacity to lead them in those early days.
The late Mujuru continued to exert his influence on Zanu PF to the extent that it is widely believed that it was on his bidding that Mugabe frustrated the ascendancy of Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to the VP post in 2004, instead nudging the president to pick his wife, Joice — who with her husband, now late, is exposed to the machinations of hardliners in the ruling party who allegedly want Mnangagwa in her position.
Solomon Mujuru ventured into business straight after retiring from the military, and used his immense influence and force of personality to clinch many lucrative business deals for himself.
“We have always spoken about the legacy (of Mujuru). What the VP is going through is that she is suffering for the legacy of her husband.
“If you go back to the history of the former combatants, he was responsible for the demobilisation, but many more were not demobilised, (because he abused demobilisation funds and) as he bought the whole of Bindura (using these funds), and the president knew about this and couldn’t do anything.
“He was (also) involved in diamonds and now Grace has picked it up and is spilling the beans,” she added.
With Joice Mujuru coming under a barrage of criticism for alleged corruption, Dongo also said Grace had become the de facto spokesperson for her wily 90-year-old husband.
“It is not Grace’s fault. It’s Bob’s fault because he knew all the information about (Solomon) Mujuru’s deals but was afraid to stop him right from the 1980s when he abused the demobilisation funds,” she said.