via http://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2013/08/18/im-ready-to-take-over-mujuru by XOLISANI NCUBE
Vice President Joice Mujuru says she is ready to lead Zanu PF and Zimbabwe in the event that president-elect Robert Mugabe is gone, but will only do so if given the mandate by the people.
Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday in a no-holds-barred exclusive interview at her Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice yesterday that according to provisions of the new Constitution gazetted on May 22, she is best-placed to succeed Mugabe if he departs whether by natural wastage or voluntary retirement.
“We know that the president will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him, he has taught us a lot and how to lead the party,” she said, adding: “Zanu PF will never die because president Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party.”
Mujuru said she has been hand-held by the former guerrilla leader since the days of the liberation struggle, hailing the 89-year-old leader for moulding her to be the “best leader”.
“I take President Mugabe to be a father figure,” she said.
“Since the days of the liberation struggle, he has always encouraged me to behave in a manner that makes me a leader. He has always told me that he wanted to make me a better person; that’s why I owe what I am today to him.”
Mujuru joined Mugabe’s first post-independence Cabinet in 1980 at 25, and was one of the longest-serving government ministers before her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004.
She was speaking to the Daily News on Sunday on the sidelines of a memorial service for her late husband retired general Solomon Mujuru whose remains were found after a mysterious fire on the 3 500-acre Ruzambo Farm, formerly Alamein, about 60km south of Harare.
A Zimbabwean magistrate ruled out foul play in the August 2011 death of the decorated retired army general.
Mujuru is now seen as the most serious contender to replace Mugabe, who won re-election in a hotly-contested July 31 presidential vote.
“He (Mugabe) has contributed to what I am today, even to the position I hold in the party,” Mujuru said.
After her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?” — a suggestion that Mujuru, could be the next Zanu PF leader after Mugabe steps down or is eliminated through natural wastage, or death.
As dramatic as her rise has been is also the rising star of her arch-rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, who touts himself as the president’s preferred heir-apparent, and according to his close associates he occasionally refers to himself as Mugabe’s “jinda guru” (top aide).
Despite the posturing by the outgoing minister of Defence, Mujuru said she had walked a long road with Mugabe.
During the liberation struggle, even before I met Solomon, VaMugabe always trained me for leadership and to take life seriously,” Mujuru said. “He has taught me to be a responsible person and I thank him for that.”
Born into a peasant family in Mount Darwin, Mujuru dropped out of school and was 18 when she joined the liberation struggle.
She rose through the guerrilla ranks to become a commander. Her star rose after she single-handedly shot down a Rhodesian army helicopter.
The youngest ever Cabinet minister in the post-colonial era, she told the Daily News on Sunday that she was ready to take over from Mugabe “if the people chose me”.
“I did not impose myself to be the party’s vice president; I was elected by the people,” she said.
“In Zanu PF, we have a constitution and regulations that we follow. I deputise president Mugabe and I do so with the full blessing of the people and the party leadership.
“If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.”
Under the new Constitution, if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first vice president takes an oath within 48 hours after, becoming president. The first vice-president assumes office as president until the expiry of the former president’s term and the second vice-president then takes over as first vice-president.
That dynamic has fuelled the succession race pitting Mujuru and Mnangagwa, with the two factions seeking to strategically position their cronies ahead of the inauguration of a new government.
But the widow of the first black army commander at independence said she does not lead any faction.
“Anyone saying I lead a faction within Zanu PF does not know how the party works,” she said.
“I belong to the faction of the president and I support him as the deputy. I don’t fight to topple him but I am there to assist him as his deputy.
“I don’t know any faction in Zanu PF, because the only leader we have is president Mugabe and anyone who has a faction, is just ambitious.
“Kana munhu achiti ane faction, he is just over-ambitious and hiding behind a finger to say there are factions in Zanu PF.
“People have to wait for their time and follow the party’s constitution. In Zanu PF, such people with ambitious attitude are labelled as vapanduki, kunonzi kupanduka ikoko (Sellouts).
“If you hear anyone saying I belong to this faction, tell them that vapunduki and they are just ambitious.
“Anyone from Zanu PF who claims that he or she belongs to Mujuru faction of any other faction, is against president Mugabe and that person is not one of us.”
Reacting to the party’s landslide “victory” in the recent polls, Mujuru had no kind words for opposition leaders who have challenged the party’s victory. She described them as “unprincipled and inconsistent in their policies.”
“VaMugabe has taught us to be honest, principled and consistent,” she said. “Any leader should be as such. What we have seen in some opposition leaders is very worrying. They have failed to be role models.”
“Look here I am a widow; I can’t decide to get married at my age because I have children who are looking up to me for guidance. I am a leader whose life is no longer private but public, there are so many youths looking up to me as their example, but some of the opposition leaders have failed to live exemplary.”
Several newly-elected Zanu PF legislators drawn from across the three Mashonaland provinces
attended Mujuru’s anniversary together with military generals and hundreds of party supporters.
A soccer match pitting the Mighty Warriors and Amai Mujuru with her grandchildren entertained the crowd, which also comprised business executives.
Clad in a brown work suit, Mujuru scored one of the goals which left the crowd amused.