Mujuru: A new battle for survival

VICE-President Joice Mujuru finds herself in an invidious position as she has literally been squeezed into a tight corner ahead of the Zanu PF congress next month through incessant attacks, contrived protests and pressure aimed at her and her allies by a rival faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa which has roped in President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.

Owen Gagare

Having worked with Mugabe since he crossed into Mozambique with the late Edgar Tekere in 1975, where she was already a Zanla commander, Mujuru has always had a close relationship with Mugabe, whom she has constantly said was a father-figure to her.

Mugabe has, however, openly sided with his wife and the Mnangagwa faction in their battle against Mujuru.

Mujuru and a group of other fighters, according to Tekere’s book A Lifetime of Struggle, was the first of trained Zanla fighters which he and Mugabe met after crossing into Mozambique.

In the book, Tekere, who was the last secretary-general of Zanu PF until his dismissal in 1981, details how he and Mugabe crossed into Mozambique with the assistance of Chief Rekayi Tangwena and how they moved from camp to camp until they arrived in Chimoio where they encountered Mujuru. Mujuru, already an accomplished fighter by the time she crossed into Mozambique in 1973 after taking part in a number of battles in Dande, gave them their first military training

“Teurai (Mujuru’s nom de guerre) was the first woman fighter I had encountered, and I was very impressed as she was extremely accomplished. I submitted with pleasure to her orders to crawl and roll on the ground,” reads the book.

“… Our real military training only began with the arrival of Teurai and her group of fighters, and she was my first instructor (instructress), and we practised with wooden toy guns. There was a high level of discipline, and the women commanders were highly respected.”

Despite working together for a long time, Mujuru now finds herself having to choose between the fight-or-flight options.

If she decides to take the fight option, like South African President Jacob Zuma did when he was fired by Thabo Mbeki in 2005, Mujuru may need to mobilise the party structures for support ahead of congress in December.

Zuma was fired after being fingered in a corruption scandal in which Judge Hilary Squires ruled that he and Schabir Shaik had a “generally corrupt relationship”, although the judge later distanced himself from that phrase. This was after Zuma allegedly received cash inducements from Shaik to facilitate arms deals.

After being fired and facing criminal charges, including rape, Zuma hit the campaign trail and mobilised ANC structures as well as Cosatu, before finally winning his battle at the ANC congress in Polokwane in 2007.

But Mujuru risks a backlash if she fights but loses her battle at congress. If she, however, proves she has popular support, Mugabe may be forced to reach a compromise with her. If she kneels and begs Mugabe, she still risks being sidelined.

Mujuru is Zimbabwe’s first female vice-president. She was born on April 15, 1955 in Mt Darwin and is considered one of the frontrunners to succeed Mugabe (90), who has ruled the country since Independence in 1980.

Mujuru is the youngest ever cabinet minister in the history of Zimbabwe. She was appointed minister in 1980, shortly after her 25th birthday. Alongside another presidential hopeful Mnangagwa and dark horse Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Mujuru is one of only three people to have served in Mugabe’s successive cabinets since Independence.

She at one time held the record of youngest ever legislator in Zimbabwe until her record was broken by the MDC’s Tafadzwa Musekiwa in the 2000 elections. She remains the youngest ever female legislator. She did her primary education at Chawanda Primary School in Mt Darwin before going to Howard Institute in Chiweshe for secondary education.

In 1973, at the tender age of 18 and while in Form 2, she left school and joined the liberation struggle where she distinguished herself and managed to rise through the ranks to become one of the few female commanders. Her nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood). She is said to have downed a helicopter with a machine gun on February 17, 1974 after her group came under attack from Rhodesian forces.

However, war veteran Christopher Mutsvangwa and Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has recently become a vicious critic of the Vice-President, have suggested the helicopter downing story is a lie.

In 1977, she married the late General Solomon Mujuru, known then as Rex Nhongo, deputy commander-in-chief of Zanla forces who took command of the Zimbabwe National Army at Independence in 1980. Her husband, who was the leader of her faction which has grappled with the Mnangagwa faction for years, died in a mysterious inferno at his farm in Beatrice in August 2011. When Mujuru was appointed Minister of Youth, Sports and Recreation in 1980, she was semi-literate. She, however, resumed studies while serving in government resulting in her passing her “O” and “A” Level examinations.

Mujuru continued studying and in 2005 graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Entrepreneurial Development from the Women’s University in Africa. She graduated with a Master of Science in Strategic Management Degree from the Chinhoyi University of Technology in 2008 after which she studied for a Doctor of Philosophy degree with the University of Zimbabwe. She was conferred with a doctorate two months ago.

Used to having her powerful husband — who liked operating behind the scenes — fight her battles, Mujuru is now fighting the most crucial battle of her political life as the resurgent Mnangagwa faction, with the aid of Grace, is on a mission to stop her march towards the presidency by among other schemes protests, purges of her allies and amending the constitution to allow Mugabe to appoint his deputies.

17 thoughts on “Mujuru: A new battle for survival”

  1. T. Zvimba says:

    Can the Independent please telll us what the various contenders represent other than loyalty to their leader and their party, and a lust to retain power, wealth and privelege.
    What are their views on the economy, education, health, mines, taxation, agriculture, etc?
    All the media, the Independent included, only report on personality. I will not vote for anyone on this basis alone.

    1. Abbie says:

      T. Zvimba, I honestly don’t think anyone is in a position to tell us what all these contenders would bring to the table in order to sort out the mess that is Zim today. Remember they have been part of the rot and their appointments have been based on the degree of loyalty to Mugabe. Take the example of Mnangagwa, we know that as the party’s finance chief, Zanu p.f. companies have been perennial loss makers even though they do not even pay taxes. In fact, whenever they get to the podium, they simply talk about their unquestionable loyalty to the head honcho. So we can safely expect more of the same – zero plans to rescue the economy and continued plunder of national resources.

  2. MUDA says:

    …… and who is Emmerson Mnangagwa

    1. Chibi turn off says:

      Mnangagwa was studying law in zambia theraafter he did his articles with Dumbutshena”s (former chief justice)law firm also in Zambia this was in the mid 70s and then in 78 he went to Maputo at the invitation of his brother in law Gen Tongogara(he was married to Gen Tongo”s sister) as security officer and after the independence he became the first state security minister in the new Zimbabwe.

      1. Rob says:

        The same Mnangagwa you are questioning his credentials is apart from Mugabe the only other surviving member who was present when Zanu Pf was formed in 1963 and was part of the Youth leadership. The same Mnangagwa was once on death roll for his political activities. Disabuse yourself from the notion that those who were in the country did not equally contribute to the liberation on the country. You can easily find out why he was on death roll and his subsequent deportation to Zambia.

  3. Abbie says:

    I do not think popular support will save Mujuru because positions in Zanu P.f. have always been about who is in Mugabe’s favour at the time. Remember she didn’t have popular support when she became VP. Because Mugabe did not want Mnangagwa, he decided to change the constitution so one of the VP spots could be reserved for a woman. It would appear her husband’s unexplained death was part of the plan to derail her ascendancy.

  4. taz says:

    mother have always told me SON what makes you laugh/smile today will make you CRY tomorrow, she smiled in 2004 she is crying in 2014.

    1. mwanawevhu says:

      and who said she is popular today.perceived and created opinion by the so called private media

      1. Jason Mandaza says:

        We don’t know what Mujuru’s vision for the country and plan for the economy is. The same is true of Mnangagwa. Granted (like other contributors have rightly pointed out) its about loyalty to Mugabe and the so-called ‘front-runners’ don’t want to be seen speaking out of sync with the supreme leader. What is important is for the media to interrogate their achievements (or lack thereof) whilst heading the different ministries in the past 34 years. For Mujuru I remember the econet licence fiasco and her unsavoury comments about Nkomo at the time. Recently her comments on corruption were shocking and perhaps point to her complicity. The media seem to praise her ‘PhD’ as her academic achievement. Personally, I think her PhD is as fake as the Grace’s only that she had the decency to hoodwink people by registering and being ‘awarded’ the degree 3 years later. Its almost impossible for someone who was working on her PhD (supposedly) part-time to complete the doctorate in that space of time. She was VP all that time so her studies couldn’t have been full-time. What her saved her from scrutiny is the fact that Grace ‘got’ her blatantly fake doctorate at the same time and attention has been on her and this ironically benefitted Joice. Besides the past 34 years have allowed us to scrutinise Mujuru and her academic achievements are really humble however much she tries to disguise it. She is simple not presidential material!

        1. Jenandebvu says:

          Has been trying to improve her education since 1980, and only managed a fist degree in 2005!

  5. maita says:

    It is no longer Mnangagwa faction. The Mnangagwa faction has a new leader one RGMugabe. Mujuru’s faction if it it will survive is now fighting a Mugabe faction. There has been a coup in Mnangagwa faction unfortunately the crocodile this time missed it. He is also gone in the power matrix. What I saw was Mugabe needed the assurance of the military to see how they reacted after Grace asked Chiwenga to pump bullets into her. He wanted to see the reaction and non came he knew it was time for a kill and Mujuru went. Amadoda sibili don’t exist in ZanuPf so Mujuru is left in the open.

  6. Kufandada says:

    The best advice for Mujuru is to submit herself to Congress and accept the outcome,lie low,work with grassroots,fight for her parliamentary seat and wait for the next congress after Mugabe is dead.

  7. musata nyoka says:

    Mujuru was not a commander in Zanla please please ndapota. The only female commander was Sheba Tavarwisa. Ndatenda hangu.

  8. Joe Cool says:

    There is no presidential material in Zimbabwe. The solution – which will never happen – would be to offer the administration of the country for 30 years to international tender by successful foreign governments with the reward being a percentage of GDP and/or natural resources.

  9. Hahaha says:

    “at the tender age of 18 and while in Form 2”

  10. Grace ihure says:

    actually she did get all her degrees thru hard work and i know because i was at WUA with her in the same class and at CUT in the same program again as were many others of us who left wua from that class.
    most of u knw here from public opinions we know her becuase we learnt with she is a kind and hard working woman

  11. Warrior says:

    Two words for Joyce Mujuru: Fight back. Actually aim for the presidency. Challenge Bob! There is nothing to lose at this stage and all to gain.


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