From Clemence Manyukwe in Harare
VICE President Joice Mujuru was on the ropes last night after President Mugabe said she lacked capacity and was “too simplistic”. Cde Mujuru, who has held the job since 2004, was conspiring with the opposition MDC and its sponsor-state the United States to hasten leadership change in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe told military chiefs and the new war veterans’ leadership in Harare yesterday.
She was conspicuous by her absence from the Politburo meeting that started soon after the President’s meeting with war veterans.
Also missing were two of her closest allies, Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Cde Didymus Mutasa and fellow Politburo member, Nicholas Goche.
No explanation was given although Cdes Mutasa and Goche are believed to be sick.
“We’re experiencing it for the first time in Zanu-PF and for that matter it’s a woman who is saying I also want to govern,” said the President.
“We know the infiltration that has gone on. We know the discussions that have been done ‘oh we will link up with MDC and unite and America then will pour lots of money, Britain’ ummmmh you know that simplistic thinking. Simplistic thinking. I don’t trust a white man at all. Never!”
Zanu-PF, Cde Mugabe said at the party’s headquarters ahead of a congress opening tomorrow, needed strong leaders who could resist the machinations of Western countries bent on regime change in Zimbabwe.
Cde Mujuru, he said, was found wanting in July last year after putting up resistance to the holding of new elections to end a coalition with the MDC factions which Cde Mugabe said gave him no pleasure.
“The whites thought that Zanu-PF would lose the elections,” said the President.
“They all believed that we were going to lose. Even ambassador (of China to Zimbabwe then, Xin Shunkang) said that.
“There you are we knew what we were doing. We made resounding victory. When the going gets hard it’s only the tough ones who will get going. You are the tough ones. I want people who are bold and committed. You don’t just give in. Don’t sacrifice principles, never. You are given money and you tell yourself that it’s better I have money, I can’t survive on principles.”
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi, Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Happyton Bonyongwe as well as Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba who represented Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda attended the meeting.
The newly elected national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association who is also Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa and his executive were introduced to the President at the same meeting.
President Mugabe bemoaned the fact that some former colonial masters still run countries particularly in West Africa by remote control.
This is most evident in former colonies of France in that region. This state of affairs frustrated efforts to achieve genuine unity of purpose in Africa.
The President recounted the humiliation he suffered for five years during the inclusive government era that was occasioned by the hung parliament of March 2008.
He said the country had to go for a presidential election run-off three months later.
“The inclusive government was a humiliating thing,” he said, “but in fact even in politics you must have also a strategy that ah now this is what needs to be done. And Jabulani (Sibanda) was saying ah ‘you have sold out to be in association with (MDC-T leader, Morgan) Tsvangirai.’ Even my child Bellarmine was saying ah ‘you have just shaken Tsvangirai’s hand. Dad I won’t shake you.’ So you can see how humiliated I was. When you are rejected by your own son.”
He, however, said he knew that the humiliation would come to an end at some point, with Zanu-PF on top of the situation
“But I knew of course that well, we would get them,” he said. “Fine we worked together, I gave Tsvangirai tea. He thought I had put poison in the tea so I drank the tea and gave him. But later on he was asking for more like Oliver Twist. In the meantime we were building our party. They relaxed saying no we should not have elections…
“Even our side, our people didn’t want elections. VP Mujuru didn’t want elections. Why? There you are. So we had those elections our own way and we emerged 31st July with that resounding victory.”
He hailed the support war veterans have been giving him, saying they have helped the party in resolving the challenges it is facing.
He said the government would endeavour to empower war veterans through various interventions to ensure that their welfare is addressed.