As mystery continues to surround the death of liberation war icon General Solomon Mujuru in an inferno at his Beatrice farm in 2011, his widow and former vice president, Joice Mujuru, has once again suggested that he may have been killed by the couple’s Zanu PF enemies to pave way for her ouster from the ruling party and government.
And in a further stunning claim, Mujuru — who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) — also says President Robert Mugabe no longer trusts the country’s feared spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which falls directly under the embattled and increasingly frail nonagenarian.
Speaking to Zimbabwean journalist Violet Gonda during her visit to the UK last week, Mujuru said Mugabe was more and more relying on the military for intelligence briefings, rather than the CIO, as Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars continued to escalate.
“… how did my husband lose his life, because that is still a big question … would this be the reason (her ruthless purging from Zanu PF) my husband died in this mysterious way? They wanted to attack me when I had nobody closer to me to see what was going to happen to me.
“I said to myself who is dependent on me, my family, immediate family, children, grandchildren, my mother. I still have a living mother, and I said rather than continue fighting these people let me keep quiet. But I will tell Mugabe I will leave him, which I did on the 1st of December 2014.
“When he wrote around December 14, 15 that ‘I have removed you from Zanu PF,’ it was an aftermath. I had already bid him farewell,” Mujuru said of her hounding out of the ruling party and the many untested claims that were flung her way, including grave allegations of plotting to assassinate the nonagenarian.
Her late husband Rex, Zimbabwe’s first black army commander, who was seen as a kingmaker within the warring Zanu PF — and who is credited with playing a major role in catapulting Mugabe to the leadership of the ruling party in the mid 1970s — died in a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farmhouse, just outside Harare, in August 2011.
An inquest into his death proved inconclusive, with his family and political associates rejecting outright the official narrative that he had died from a fire that had been started by a candle.
Since Mujuru was sacked from Zanu PF, together with other disaffected senior party officials who included former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, Mugabe and his lieutenants have savaged her relentlessly and also sought to tar the legacy of her revered late husband.
In August this year, on the exact fifth anniversary of Rex’s death, lapdog State media launched a shocking propaganda blitzkrieg on him — which only served to re-ignite questions surrounding his contested death.
They claimed that he had held several meetings with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai where they had allegedly agreed on a plot to take over power.
“It is understood that the project had the backing of western countries who felt that MDC-T needed someone with liberation war credentials to enhance its power bid against … Mugabe.
“Even at the funeral of General (Mujuru), we had a very awkward situation where MDC-T people were part and parcel of the mourners which is quite unusual.
“That stemmed from the interaction that was taking place behind the scenes involving the general or some of his aides and Mr Tsvangirai but also underpinned with western interests,” the unashamedly pro-Zanu PF media said.
But in her interview last week with Gonda, Mujuru revealed that Mugabe and powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe had held meetings with her in which she sought clarity on her public humiliation by the first family.
Crucially, the ZPF leader said Mugabe, in one of those meetings, had revealed that he got the information about her alleged assassination plots from the military instead of the CIO who are tasked with providing State security.
“I met Mugabe on October 24, 2014 and asked him who had told him or who had given him the information that I was looking for a sniper to kill him when I did not even have a pistol in my house.
“And he even said ‘you know what, this thing has been said by the military intelligence’, and I asked him, why military intelligence and not central intelligence, and he said ‘I no longer trust central intelligence’.
“Military intelligence according to my understanding should have been people who should work hand in hand with central intelligence … why would you discard your other arm and keep your other arm?
“And I said to them anyway these people are relegating you to throwing away your political history, which you have worked for so hard,” she added.
Zanu PF insiders have claimed that CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe, a former senior military officer, was seconded to head the spy agency by Mujuru’s late husband, and that he has been placed under immense pressure by Zanu PF hawks who engineered the former vice president’s purging from the party.
Several former Zanu PF officials, including former Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Temba Mliswa, have also claimed that Mujuru’s sacking and the untested allegations of plotting to assassinate Mugabe that she faced, had all been engineered by the military.
The military falls under the Commander of the Defence Forces, Constantino Chiwenga, who is said to be sympathetic to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose mooted presidential ambitions are being fought vigorously by a Zanu PF faction known by the moniker Generation 40 (G40).
However, Chiwenga has publicly rejected the claims that he is supporting Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.
Mujuru was sacked from Zanu PF in the run-up to the ruling party’s damp squib December 2014 “elective” congress on allegations that she was planning to assassinate Mugabe, bringing to an end a 42-year association she had had with the former liberation movement that she joined as a teen to help fight in the Rhodesian war.
The 61-year-old ZPF leader’s political stock has since grown after she launched her own party early this year.
Mujuru and other opposition parties are in talks to form an electoral pact which analysts see as their best prospect of ending Mugabe and Zanu PF’s long rule in the much-anticipated 2018 national election. Daily News