HARARE – Zimbabwe’s popular former vice president Joice Mujuru doesn’t feel in the least bit sorry for the presidential hopeful who “orchestrated her downfall” and now faces the threat of his own humiliating ousting, she has told a Sunday newspaper.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was “tasting [his] own medicine” as battles for power within the ruling party intensify, Mujuru told the privately-owned Standard newspaper.
Once seen as a strong contender to succeed the ageing President Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa’s political future has never looked so uncertain.
His faction of ZANU-PF suffered its worst political defeat yet this week when it was attacked by the first lady, Grace Mugabe, in rallies in Harare and Mazowe district.
The president’s wife clearly demonstrated her support for the Generation-40 faction, which, like Mnangagwa’s faction, wants to take power when the 91-year-old president dies or steps down.
Significantly, Grace Mugabe this week accused Mnangagwa’s faction of plotting to bomb her dairy and kill her youngest child, 19-year-old Bellarmine Chatunga.
Those allegations are remarkably similar to allegations Grace Mugabe made against Mujuru, who was unceremoniously ousted from power in late 2014. The first lady then accused Mujuru of plotting to oust and kill the president.
Though frequently cited by state media, the charges against Mujuru have never been legally pursued. Many believe that the popularity of the former army general’s wife was the real threat to the president.
Analysts say the allegations against Mnangagwa – often called The Crocodile by his opponents – appear equally dubious and likely point to the beginnings of a campaign to discredit Mujuru’s successor.
Watchdog @ZimMediaReview tweeted: “The Mazowe rally has a déjà vu feel to it. This is how Mujuru’s fall started.”
Asked about the assault on Mnangagwa, Mujuru was quoted as saying: “I don’t feel pity for him or anyone there at all. That is what they wanted.”
“They [Mnangagwa and his faction] knew all that was being said about me was lies but they believed it,” she told the Standard.
Mujuru has taken a back seat in politics since her ousting more than a year ago, retreating to her farm where she’s been photographed working in the fields. However she has admitted that she is involved in a new party calling itself People First.
The state-owned Sunday Mail reported that People First sent its constitution to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Friday, the first step towards allowing its members to contest in the 2018 elections.