FOR a leader supposedly under mortal danger of assassination by a faction allegedly led by his “treasonous” deputy, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, President Robert Mugabe has the strangest of ways of dealing with the alleged threat.
Candid Comment with Stewart Chabwinja
On Wednesday he flew to the two-day, second Africa-Turkey summit in Guinea. Again, despite a growing list of allegations of plots against him by Mujuru and her allies, including State Security minister Didymus Mutasa, Mugabe had the audacity to leave Mujuru as acting president.
Since news of Mujuru’s conspiracy broke out in the state media, along with an avalanche of sensational allegations, Mugabe has kept faith in her by leaving her in charge following jaunts to the Vatican, Austria, Zambia and now Equatorial Guinea.
This despite widespread rumours, informed by the anti-Mujuru crusade stridently spearheaded by his wife Grace, suggesting Mujuru can’t be trusted.
Several leaders on the continent have been booted out while outside the country, such as Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, so it would be folly for Mugabe to entrust his reins to a lieutenant plotting to overthrow him.
Pilloried in the state media virtually on a daily basis, Mujuru ostensibly faces the most serious offence in a constitutional democracy — treason — which attracts a life or death sentence. In her rabid denunciation, Grace has demanded Mujuru’s summary resignation, or she will be fired. Yet Mugabe continues to show full confidence in his “arch-enemy”. A case maybe of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer?
What explanation can suffice more for Mugabe’s continued indulgence of Mujuru than that the grave charges against her — yet to rouse police into any action — are trumped up, politically expedient and hence do not merit being taken seriously. They have all the hallmarks of mudslinging — a major feature of Zanu PF’s December congress where, until lately, Mujuru’s party and state tenure appeared carved in stone.
If there was concrete evidence of Mujuru’s treasonous plot, surely she would be safely locked up by now facing the full wrath of the law — and not running the country — while her ringleaders would have suffered the same fate instead of merely being suspended or kicked out of the party currently at war with itself.
But then treason charges are a weapon of choice in Mugabe’s bag of political survival tricks, invoked whenever his rule is under threat.
Mujuru joins a long list of alleged coup-plotters including Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku (all from the then PF-Zapu), Ndabaningi Sithole (Zanu-Ndonga), Enock Dumbutshena (Forum Party), Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti (MDC-T) — all acquitted except for Sithole who died when his appeal against conviction was pending.
Maybe instead of pursuing recycled and dubious coup charges against Mujuru, the state would do well to re-open the case of her husband Solomon Mujuru’s death, which remains unresolved.
Incensed by Zanu PF treatment of Joice, Mujuru’s bother Joel this week said: “I am not saying they killed him (Solomon), but what is happening today points to that. It shows that everything was planned.”