The Sunday Mail
Vice President Joice Mujuru is at the centre of a plot to assassinate President Mugabe; a development that analysts say makes her continued incumbency untenable.
Two of the VP’s closest allies – former Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and current secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa – have recently spoken of assassinating President Mugabe.
There is a voice recording of Gumbo making the assassination threat, and a report to party authorities of Mutasa saying President “Mugabe will be shot”.
Investigations also show that another senior VP Mujuru ally, a Cabinet minister from Mashonaland Central, made contingencies for such a scenario during recent meetings with potential hitmen in South Africa and Israel.
Analysts and legal experts say there is no way VP Mujuru can be separated from the intentions of her closest allies.
Leading lawyers added that the police should act swiftly on the matter.
Last week’s Extraordinary Politburo meeting heard that sometime in October, Mutasa boasted to one of his lovers: “If President Mugabe blocks the ascendancy of VP Mujuru to the Presidency at the Zanu-PF Congress, then he will be shot.”
Immediately afterwards, the woman reported the matter to party authorities.
The revelation shocked the Politburo – including members who have been backing VP Mujuru.
And this dovetails with a voice recording of Gumbo who is heard saying: “Kana (President) Mugabe akaramba achipusha Mujuru out tichamubvisa sezvakaitwa (Laurent) Kabila.”
DRC’s President Laurent Kabila was killed by a member of his security team in January 2001.
The Daily News, which has for months been pushing the VP’s agenda, yesterday also reported as a matter of fact that Gumbo had been recorded making the treasonous statement.
Neither Gumbo nor Mutasa could be reached for comment last night.
In addition, there are indications that a Cabinet minister and Politburo member recently used the cover of official Government business in Western Europe to make stops in Israel and South Africa to allegedly look for hitmen in pursuance of the plots talked about by Gumbo and Mutasa.
Analysts say the VP could not distance herself from these treasonous utterances by feigning or pleading ignorance, given the very public fact that she has been working quite closely with Gumbo and Mutasa.
The pair has been the most vocal and active in propping up her ambition to take over the Presidency just one year after President Mugabe individually secured more than 61 percent of the Presidential vote and was given a five-year mandate by Zimbabweans to lead them.
Further, in August 2013 – two weeks after President Mugabe’s resounding victory, VP Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday in an interview at her Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice that she was ready to take over Zanu-PF and Government; saying: “We know that the President will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him.”
A senior Zanu-PF official last night said there was now an “inescapable reality that Mujuru is irredeemably tainted by the treasonous utterances of Gumbo and Mutasa to make her position as VP simply untenable”.
Political analyst Dr Qubani Moyo added: “Actually, such dangerous statements expose the Vice President as a person who is not grateful for what she has. She should remember that she got to that position on generosity.
“The party should take drastic action against such cadres and I think it is high time the Vice President comes out in the open and tells the people on which side she is.
“If she keeps quiet, she can be taken to be a collaborator in this chaos; so she has to either confirm or disassociate herself. In fact, the party must now move in quickly and deal with her.”
Prominent lawyer Mr Jonathan Samkange weighed in saying the plot was “highly treasonous because what it simply means is that someone wants to change a lawful government by unlawful means. That is a straight-forward treason case”.
He went on: “The police should take action, arrest the accused and charge them with treason. Actually, I am surprised that by now the police have not taken action given the gravity of the issue.”
Another leading lawyer, Mr Terrence Hussein, said “those that cannot accept legal processes and legal outcomes and try to resort to violence are usually dealt with forcefully in terms of the law”.
Mr Hussein said, “People who call for bloodshed to try to remove a democratically-elected president or government through unconstitutional means are committing a serious crime. It is treason as our criminal laws clearly state.”
A retired Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe, who did not want to be named for professional reasons, said: “From what I have heard about this case, including from the facts you have just favoured me with, I think Honourable Vice President Mujuru has more than a political headache to deal with here.
“There are some very serious legal and even political ramifications which will not go away just like that on their own. It is common cause that Messrs Gumbo and Mutasa have been working with Honourable Vice President Mujuru to achieve a common purpose to succeed President Mugabe not only in Zanu-PF but also in Government. There’s nobody who does not know this. The public record on this is very rich.
“In the circumstances, it stands to reason that Honourable Mujuru has a common purpose and a shared understanding or arrangement with Messrs Gumbo and Mutasa regarding their take on President Mugabe’s succession.
“As such, the Honourable Vice President has more than just vicarious liability for the allegedly treasonous utterances made by Messrs Gumbo and Mutasa apparently on her behalf or for her benefit.
“This is because it is a well-established principle in case law that if two or more persons reach an understanding or make an arrangement that they together do or pursue something which happens to be a crime, as is the allegation in the instant matter, they are each and all equally liable of the alleged crime while their common purpose, understanding or arrangement is still on foot and has not been called off regardless of what part or role each has played or not played in committing the alleged crime. That is the law.”
University of Zimbabwe Political Science Department head Dr Charity Manyeruke said the police should investigate.
“Of course, there are a few characters who have wished the President dead and some used ‘prayers’. Any wishful thinking about assassinating the President has always been exposed. For a Politburo member, it is insubordination of the highest order.
“Zanu-PF should not harbour such characters in the party. The Politburo should remain the guardian angel of the party, not the destruction of the party. If they become a killing force, then they must not be in the Politburo … it is in the State’s interest because the President is not just a party leader, but a leader of Zimbabwe as well.
“Therefore, police should investigate the matter. It is the police’s duty to protect the President… These are very serious allegations because we are talking about the President of the State.”
Analyst Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri said VP Mujuru’s situation was “dicey, especially now that we are seeing people aligned to her being expelled from the party”.
This was in reference to Gumbo’s five-year suspension from the party – a sanction also imposed on Central Committee member Enoch Porusungazi, former War Veterans Association leader Jabulani Sibanda’s expulsion, and votes of no confidence passed on provincial chairs Cdes Kalisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Amos Midzi (Harare), Jason Machaya (Midlands), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), and John Mvundura (Manicaland); as well as in other provincial executives.
At a Politburo meeting a week before the 2013 Zanu-PF Conference in Chinhoyi, Gumbo told members – with President Mugabe present – that VP Mujuru had the support of nine provincial chairpersons.
The VP did not remark on this declaration, nor admonish Gumbo that President Mugabe had just won elections and was thus mandated to lead until 2018.
And just last week, a few days before he was suspended, Gumbo said the core business of the December 2014 Congress was “succession”, again ignoring President Mugabe’s five-year mandate.