1 April 2017
HARARE – With a mere three months of the new year gone, 2017 is already
turning out to be yet another annus horribilis (horrible year) for former
vice president and now leader of the floundering National People’s Party,
Indeed, it’s not just continuing to rain for Mujuru, it’s pouring on all
fronts – and we feel for her at a human level.
Consider this. First, her liberation struggle icon husband, Solomon, died
in a mysterious inferno at the family’s Beatrice farm in 2011.
And before her tears had even dried, her erstwhile colleagues in the
brawling ruling Zanu PF – where for a decade she was number two to
President Robert Mugabe – started accusing her and the revered Rex of
having plotted against Gushungo.
Then in December 2014, she was hounded out of her political home of more
than four decades like a leper – ending up joining hands in the opposition
ranks with her former top Zanu PF allies Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.
Tragically for her, she soon fought with, and then parted ways with Nyati
and Madyira in the once promising Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party,
resulting in her being forced to launch the fledgling National People’s
Now, simmering tensions within the one-month-old outfit have already
boiled over into deadly violence, with rash party spokesperson Jealousy
Mawarire viciously attacking, and then allegedly threatening to kill
Mujuru’s party spin doctor, Gift Nyandoro – in disgusting scenes which
shocked guests at a Harare hotel on Thursday.
This is awful: For Mujuru, for her family and friends, for her party and
for Zimbabwe at large.
But if truth be told, some of her travails have been self-inflected, which
calls into question both her political nous and leadership credentials –
particularly as some of the misfortunes she has suffered have a familiar
ring to them.
Take for example the many dubious characters and political charlatans that
she has surrounded herself with over the past few years.
One would have thought that after her painful experiences in Zanu PF, as
well as in ZPF, that she would now be choosing her political friends,
partners and aides with a fair degree of circumspection.
Alas, this appears to be a wish too far for those who have been rooting
for her, hoping against all hope that she – together with the likes of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai – would minimally start pushing Mugabe
and Zanu PF to do better in government than they have done in their
disastrous 37 years in power.
Indeed, does Mujuru screen her aides at all? If she doesn’t, what does
this tell Zimbabweans about her as an aspiring president of our troubled
If she hasn’t applied her mind to all this yet, we hope that Thursday’s
repulsive events, in which her aides clashed over a reckless statement
penned by Mawarire, have finally jolted her to earnestly evaluate her
leadership ethos – in her own interest.
Frankly, right-thinking Zimbabweans were surprised when the hot-headed
Mawarire launched an astonishing attack on Tsvangirai last weekend,
effectively describing the MDC leader as “power drunk” – in the hugely
damaging sentiments which Nyandoro later tried to mitigate.
For this, the grieving Nyandoro, whose recently departed mother is still
to be buried, paid a high price. By Nyandoro’s account, he received a
savage beating at the hands of Mawarire after he rightly said the crass
views that Jealousy had articulated were his alone, and not NPP’s.
Meanwhile, and perhaps revealingly about Mujuru’s leadership incapacity,
nary a word from her yet over this despicable thuggery by one of her top
And so to the obvious necessary questions for Mujuru as the NPP implodes
right in front of her.
Why the silence? Does she condone Mawarire’s use of violence to get his
way? Is this also how she wants her NPP colleagues to resolve their
In addition, should we interpret her silence to mean that she condones the
use of violence in politics, just as Zanu PF did in all the years that she
served at senior level in that party? And is this how the NPP will fight
the watershed 2018 elections?
Finally, what lesson does she think this kind of contemptible thuggery
holds for ordinary Zimbabweans and other political parties as 2018