via Zanu PF a proven haven for criminals February 12, 2014 From the Editor Nevanji Madanhire NewsDay
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is a child of Zanu PF, a party she joined when she was in her teens. She was under 18 years of age when she made the gruesome journey to join the struggle. To put it differently, Comrade Teurai Ropa was, by definition, a child soldier.
Her story is a remarkable one; from such an obviously traumatic introduction to politics, she is now standing on the verge of ruling a country. Some of her exploits during the armed struggle are well documented, the most amazing being her claim to have shot an enemy helicopter out of the sky. She is truly a hero of our struggle.
Her remarks over the weekend have resulted in an uproar; with people from across the political divide calling, literally, for her head. She must resign, has been the loud call.
In an address to members of the Zanu PF Women’s League in Mashonaland West, she said she smelled a rat in the ongoing sniffing-out by the media of corrupt public figures in parastatals. She accused the media of trying to destroy her dear Zanu PF from within. She said the media should stop this “nefarious” activity. In other words, she wants newspapers gagged so that corruption can proliferate in State enterprises if that means her party survives.
But the world should put into some context the rationale behind her utterances. Zanu PF has often been described as a Trojan horse or personified as Mr Bambazonke; it’s a holdall, accommodating everything and everyone including criminals.
During the war of liberation, Mai Mujuru would have fought alongside criminals who had run away from crimes they had committed in Rhodesia. Some of them had risen in rank to become senior commanders in the liberation army.
The end justifies the means; so it was legit to use criminals to fight the war as long as the result was in favour of the general good. That is the lesson that the struggle must have instilled into her impressionable teenage psyche.
At independence in 1980, Zanu PF did not cleanse itself of the criminal element in its ranks; so some of the criminals went into government and became ministers.
There have been many earth-shaking scandals involving senior politicians since independence, but they have been protected by the system. Now corruption is all pervasive due to this immunity provided by the party.
Meanwhile, other criminals have been watching this development; which gave them hope that they could be protected from the law, and they were. This became a culture in Zimbabwe that anyone wanted by the law for criminal activity would join Zanu PF, first by becoming an avid fundraiser and then standing in the elections to become an MP.
A few examples may suffice.
Obadiah Musindo quickly comes to mind. He on five occasions in 2004 allegedly raped a young woman who worked for him as a maid. When the case began to make waves, he joined Zanu PF. The police began to dilly-dally in their investigations. Had it not been for women’s groups which campaigned for the Musindo to have his day in court, nothing would have happened.
He is full of praise for President Robert Mugabe whom he calls Black Moses. His Destiny for Afrika Network is most visible at important Zanu PF functions. A magistrate has said he has a case to answer, but still there is no movement.
Godfrey Nzira also demonstrated how criminals could benefit from Zanu PF protection. In 2003 he was jailed for 32 years on seven counts of rape and one of indecent assault after raping two women followers of his apostolic sect who had come to seek spiritual guidance.
When the cases against him began to emerge, he quickly become very active in Zanu PF, campaigning for Mugabe in the run-up to the 2002 elections. He was famously quoted as saying Mugabe was “a divinely-appointed king of Zimbabwe and no man should dare challenge him”.
His sentence was reduced first to 20 years and then he was given a presidential pardon.
Another case that quickly comes to mind is that of Nolbert Kunonga, the disgraced former Anglican bishop. He became a staunch Zanu PF functionary when criminal proceedings were being brought against him in the church. He was being accused of such serious crimes as inciting murder, intimidating and improperly firing priests. He was accused of ignoring church law and commandeering bank accounts and foreign exchange. He was said to have brought the diocese into contempt.
Energy Mutodi stood in the Zanu PF primaries in Goromonzi intending to contest in the July 31 harmonised elections. Before his attempt at politics, he had been a musician of some note. He owns a musical outfit and has released a few hits that made some noise on national charts. But then, he has a huge criminal case against him.
He is accused of swindling desperate home-seekers of millions of dollars. Had he won the primaries and later the general elections, the hope was that he would be immune from prosecution.
Recently, convicted RMG Independent End Time Church pastor Robert Martin Gumbura also sought to seek refuge in Zanu PF by contesting in primaries for the Mabvuku-Tafara seat, later won by an MDC-T candidate, James Maridadi. The same can be said of Munyaradzi Kereke, the former Reserve Bank senior manager who successfully contested the Bikita West election; he has an alleged rape case hanging over him, but seems to be protected by political office.
During subsistence of the political crisis that began around 2000, Zanu PF has been accused of committing unimaginable crimes during election periods. These crimes range from murder of political opponents, to arson and systematic rape. All the perpetrators of these crimes, though known, will never be brought to book. They are immune to prosecution by virtue of their party membership.
This is the party in which Joice Mujuru is second in command. She is right; if criminals are sniffed out of Zanu PF, the party will collapse. She wishes to succeed to the highest office in the land and is prepared to achieve that by whatever means necessary, including protecting criminals. She has learnt her lesson well from the days of the liberation struggle: the end justifies the means! If criminals will make her president, so be it!
Her awful acceptance of criminality in Zanu PF must have sent shockwaves across the whole country.