From the archive April 2012: Mujuru rules out Mugabe challenge

via Mujuru rules out Mugabe challenge From the archive April 2102

VICE President Joice Mujuru has ruled out challenging President Robert Mugabe for the leadership of the country as long as he remains in office.

“Handimbochichemera chigaro chavo (President Mugabe) kana varipo. Tinozviziva kuti kune vakuru, kuti kune order . . . Hatife takapanduka isu vamwe nekuti takabikwa tikaibva (We will not seek the Presidency as long as Mugabe remains in office … We would never betray the leadership because we are disciplined)” Mujuru told state media over the weekend.

Mujuru – seen as a possible successor to the aging Zanu PF leader — said she has learnt a lot from Mugabe since first meeting him during the liberation war in 1975.

“I have now known him for 37 years. Our problem as Zimbabweans is that we do not understand our President. Had we understood him well, we were not going to have any challenges. Hanzi n’anga haikudzwe nevayo,” she said

Her remarks come after Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa also dismissed media reports claiming he had reached a secret deal with Mugabe to take over after the next elections.

“I was as surprised … to learn that there was a pact between the President and myself to take over office. I also read about it in the Press. This is a strategy by our enemies,” Mnangagwa said.

“There is no such thing and these are the efforts of detractors bent on causing alarm and chaos among the authorities, both in Zanu PF and the government. It is only a subject that exists in the minds of those who do not wish us well as a nation.

“There is really nothing to it. It’s just wishful thinking from our enemies. The fortunate thing is that we are too mature to be distracted by such mentally-deranged people. I, therefore, rest my case.”

Mujuru and Mnangagwa are said to lead rival Zanu PF camps in the fight to succeed Mugabe which has resulted in bitter divisions within the party. However, analysts say neither would challenge Mugabe – who turned 88 this year – as long as he remains in office.

Mujuru’s chances were dealt a significant blow with the death of her powerful husband and former army chief, General Solomon Mujuru who was killed when an unexplained fire razed his Beatrice farmhouse last August.

But Zanu PF administration secretary, Didymus Mutasa insisted she was still the odds-on favourite for the top job.

“We have a hierarchy that we follow as a party; Mai Mujuru is better placed (to succeed Mugabe) as well as (co-vice-president) John Nkomo and even Simon Khaya Moyo (party chairman),” Mutasa said when reacting to the media reports claiming a Mugabe-Mnangagwa deal.

The latest speculation over succession was sparked off by new concerns over Mugabe’s health after his recent trip to Singapore where he has previously had medical attention for what officials said was a minor eye problem.

Mugabe insists he is in robust health and has demanded that new elections must be held this year to end the coalition government.