The litany of charges levelled against former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Vice- President Joice Mujuru when she was expelled from the party read like sour grapes. If she was so mischievous and insubordinate for a decade why did the party keep her for so long, most people are bound to ask?
The answer is simple. That is how ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe works. Mugabe is like a lion after its prey. It watches. It waits. Sometimes the lion even looks as if it is not interested in the prey, lulling it, until it feels that this is the right moment and it pounces and catches its prey.
Mugabe listens, but more importantly, he waits. His patience sometimes irritates his friends and critics, like he did in the run-up to last year’s congress as his wife tore into his deputy, Joice. When he finally spoke, all hell broke loose.
According to the ZANU-PF National Disciplinary Committee, Mai Mujuru was expelled because she began working against party interests and Mugabe together with her husband ever since she was elected Vice-President at the party congress in 2004.
To many, this was difficult to swallow because Mai Mujuru was catapulted by Mugabe from nowhere. There was heavy resistance to her elevation which culminated in the Tsholotsho (Dinyane) Declaration under which a parallel leadership was set up to prevent Mujuru from taking over.
The plot had so much support that six of the 10 party provincial chairmen were suspended for supporting it. Key people allegedly behind the Tsholotsho plot were Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa who were allegedly doing it for Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The claim that Mai Mujuru was against the party from way back in 2004 was so nonsensical that one reader of The Herald, identified only as Mapfungi, commented on Mujuru’s expulsion: “Whatever lies you tell us about Mujuru we don't care. We will vote for her if she form(s) her own party.”
Another, identified as Nyika, was even more scathing: “Laughable, to the point of being obscene with the total destruction of human thinking that can be compared to a can of worms that have eaten through a human corpse with all its feces. ZANU PF stupidity has become the order of how you relate to issues of good governance. Lies, lies, lies, lies, peddled by those who have no history in the party. African politics is undergoing a revolution that cannot be stopped. Look at Zambia, and now Nigeria. ZANU PF has lost the plot, about time we witnessed an alternative voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
But this claim, ridiculous as it sounds, is supported by independent evidence which was published in The Insider on 12 July 2012, more than a year before the 2013 elections and more than two years before the push against Mujuru began.
According to a diplomatic cable released under by Wikileaks, the former army commander, Solomon Mujuru, told platinum boss Greg Sebborn, six months after his wife became Vice-President, that he was now running the country on a day-to-day basis because Mugabe had become “unstable”.
He told Sebborn, the Zimplats boss, that the platinum company must make him its “indigenous partner and protector” if it wanted to survive in Zimbabwe.
Sebborn told a United States embassy official on 29 July 2005 that he was baffled by this because Mugabe had suggested a local partner to the company but the consortium had failed to raise the funds to buy into the company.
Mujuru also promised Sebborn that he would protect Zimplats from the Chinese who wanted to enter into the platinum market and were favoured by Mugabe.
“Sebborn said Mujuru had told him that Mugabe was ‘quite unstable’ and subject to dramatic mood swings and that he, Mujuru, was now running the country day-to-day,” the United States embassy official wrote in a diplomatic cable that was dispatched to Washington on 2 August 2005.
See also: God, Mugabe and the West