We all know their slogan; Zanu ndeye ropa (a party born of blood) and, now significantly, Joyce Teurai Ropa (spill blood) Mujuru has revived her nom de guerre to remind us of her revolutionary credentials. After all, she famously shot down a helicopter during the war. If this were France, her figure dressed in torn military fatigues, clutching an AK 47 and blazing away at the skies would be immortalised in many a painting and fittingly on a bank note for eternity. I, for one, would not begrudge her this recognition.
Except the bank note would actually no longer be there because Joyce and her recently former political party contrived, through misrule and inept management, to destroy the Zimbabwe dollar. One of her most “successful” acts was working night and day to drive one Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe’s greatest entrepreneur, out of the country by refusing to award him a license for his business. You will recall that she insulted former Vice President, Joshua Nkomo, calling him senile while she ignored his instruction to issue a licence to operate for Masiyiwa’s project, Econet.
As for her most loyal and outspoken supporter, Didymus Mutasa there is not much to say. Aside his vulgar arrogance, this is the man who gushed, “We love him” when defending Robert Mugabe and who infamously boasted as recently as 2002 that “we would be better off with six million people, with our own who support the liberation struggle. We don’t want all these extra people” as millions fled his government’s brutal rule. Human Rights Forum quotes him as saying earlier in 2000 while responding to an MDC campaign advertisement, “those who do not understand must be beaten until they do understand.” How can anyone take these two seriously?
But we are meant to be a democracy are we not? Joyce has every right to try and revive her political career. After all, she was probably poised for the Presidency of her recent former political party Zanu PF before being unceremoniously ejected. There is nothing absolutely wrong, therefore, with her trying to enter the fray via another avenue. So, she is now Interim President of a fledgling political party but is she fit and proper for President of Zimbabwe?
This politician who likes to project her Christian virtues was part and parcel of a government that forcibly evicted 700 000 people from their homes, just before the onset of winter, in that callous operation Murambatsvina. These people had their homes and lives destroyed because they had dared vote for the MDC and the government wanted them back in the rural areas where they could be monitored and controlled. Joyce Mujuru now wants to court them? How does a nice Salvation Army mother who is in leadership not publicly protest this cruelty? Just under a year before this, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum reported that Didymus Mutasa, with his so called A team of 42 youths, dealt with an internal ZanuPF challenger with violence, torture and outright theft before 16 of them were found guilty and jailed for 3 years. Mutasa paid bail of Z$300 000 for each of them at the time. And he has become an angel all of a sudden?
Joyce Mujuru was part and parcel of a government that promised health, education and housing for all by 2000 and failed dismally at it. What new solutions could she and her team, all remnants of the same political party, offer us?
Let’s face it, the gruesome manner of her husband’s death, a liberation war hero himself, shocked Zimbabwean’s in to a fearful stupor. The crude and shoddy manner in which Joyce was treated thereafter left many a Zimbabwean aghast at the low levels to which ZanuPF could go in persecuting not only the widow of a struggle hero but a sitting Vice President as well. It was disgraceful and, understandably, the majority of Zimbabweans felt for her but we must never allow sentiment to cloud common sense.
The truth is Joyce Mujuru and all her team did not voluntarily leave ZanuPF following a damascene moment of conscience. They were expelled and, now finding themselves in the cold far from the feeding trough, are desperate to get the levers of power back in to their hands. In our desperation for a solution to our country’s woes, we must be careful about the choices we make. Zimbabwe has to move forward. By invoking her struggle name, Teurai Ropa, Joyce is telling us she remains of the same core values and moral persuasion that saw her amass a business fortune with a lowly government salary and turn a blind eye to brutal rule all at the expense of the people she purports to want to represent today. She and her ilk must be emphatically rejected. She not only claimed 55% disability in a feeding frenzy during the war veterans compensation claims saga, she also attacked the press for exposing massive corruption over parastatal salaries as recently as 2014! Now all of a sudden she has changed? Mutasa and Mujuru did not “make mistakes” while in ZanuPF, they deliberately and consciously perpetuated the Zanu ndeye ropa value system. It remains in their blood.
We have to find a new team of men and women who will competently and confidently set the country back on to the path of sustainable economic progress. We have lost more than a decade already and we cannot afford to stagnate or move backwards with a team whose senior leadership were important and strategic members of a failed government. This is no time for sentiment or short memories. Hasten slowly Zimbabwe. Hasten slowly.