Fungi Kwaramba 9 March 2017
HARARE – Former vice president and interim leader of the National People’s
Party (NPP) Joice Mujuru has said fellow women were at the forefront
orchestrating her dismissal from the ruling Zanu PF.
In a speech she delivered during the commemoration of the United Nations
International Women’s Day at the London School of Economics on Tuesday,
the opposition leader – who was hounded out of Zanu PF on untested
allegations of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe – said
fellow women ganged up with powerful men when it became apparent that she
was the clear successor to Mugabe.
“What is sad in most of these cases of persecution and abuse of women is
that men find willing accomplices in some of our own fellow women. This
was the case in Zimbabwe where those at the forefront of sidelining me
were fellow women. This is a cancer that we must deal with as women if we
are to advance in various leadership positions,” Mujuru told the London
First Lady Grace Mugabe and Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri were
at the forefront of purging Mujuru.
The women ganged up with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Higher and
Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, Local Government minister
Saviour Kasukuwere to cause the fall of Mujuru, who went on to form her
own opposition party.
Before her expulsion, Mujuru, along with Mnangagwa, were seen as leading
candidates to succeed Mugabe. She had commanding respect of the party’s
But the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party that Mujuru formed along with
elders Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo last month split amid salacious
allegations by the former vice president that her partners wanted to bed
“We left Zanu PF to form ZPF, a new opposition political party with
liberation war credentials, which we have rebranded to the National
People’s Party (NPP). Unfortunately, we had carried along male chauvinists
who wanted me to front their struggle.
“They wanted to capitalise on my brand and leverage support with the
citizens but had plans to ditch me for a male leader once I had done all
the ground work. I endured insults and abuse from these male opportunists
until I had to pick myself up in the interest of the common good.
“This is the background to the so-called split that you might have read
about. I had to exercise my authority and expelled the rogue elements.
Sadly, as always, there were willing accomplices to help the men advance
their cause,” Mujuru said.
Mutasa and Gumbo have denied Mujuru’s charges that they ever wanted to
have sex with her, instead describing her as another version of Mugabe who
has dictatorial tendencies.
However, Mujuru said Zimbabweans must gang up against Mugabe.
“As I prepare for my presidential bid for our 2018 elections, I take
comfort in the fact that others have done it. The experience this far has
hardened me and prepared me for the great task ahead.
“We pray that more and more women in Africa find the courage to challenge
the status quo and seek to bring sanity to governance that has for long
remained a male-dominated arena,” Mujuru said.
Revealing to her audience war time abuses by bigwigs in the ruling party,
Mujuru – whose nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood) – said women
were used as objects for sexual satisfaction by male commanders.
“I happen to have spent about eight years fighting in the war of
liberation in Zimbabwe – fighting for our land and against racial
discrimination. I had to fight to rise through the ranks to become a
commander and trainer of combatants, mostly men.
“While fighting the enemy in our military camps, I was confronted by a
different war; a war I had to fight against fellow comrades.
“Almost on a daily basis, I had to stand up against the abuse of female
freedom fighters by male commanders who were above my military rank. It
was a cause I dedicated my life towards, a cause for which I almost lost
my life,” Mujuru said.