HARARE – A suprisingly buoyant Didymus Mutasa says notwithstanding the machinations of Zanu PF hardliners and their purported expulsion of former vice president Joice Mujuru from the brawling ruling party, the 59-year-old widow of the late liberation war icon, General Solomon Mujuru, will one day lead both the party and the country.

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Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, following Zanu PF’s announcement on Thursday that the party had expelled Mujuru, Mutasa — who maintains that he is still the ruling party’s bona fide secretary for administration — insisted that the former VP “remains the genuine and original Zanu PF vice president until a  proper congress is convened”.

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He said Mujuru’s purported expulsion from the ruling party was a clear manifestation of how popular she was both in Zanu PF and the country generally, and how much her political enemies “feared even her shadow”.

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“We supported her before, during and after the illegal (December 2014) congress, not because we are a faction but because we are law-abiding members of the party who respected and recognised the official and elected officials of the party.

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“We are certain that if all had gone well at the congress, she was going to be democratically elected into the same position again. We are confident that as time goes on, she will be the first democratically elected female president of Zimbabwe,” Mutasa said.

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Mujuru, Mutasa and other senior officials were brutally removed from their party positions late last year and subsequently sacked from government after they were accused of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe — even though these serious allegations have never been taken to the courts.

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The murky plot was first broached by controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe, with President Robert Mugabe himself later picking up the cudgels and ludicrously claiming that Mujuru had gone as far as importing witchdoctors from Nigeria to kill him.

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Mutasa, the former Presidential Affairs minister in charge of the country’s spooks, said his support for Mujuru was not premised on factional grounds, but came out of conviction, principle and aq sense of doing the right thing.

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He said that she is hailed not just for her “exceptional leadership qualities” but also for her “impressive” academic credentials that she had obtained against all odds and despite the machinations of many in the ruling party.

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“She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in management and entrepreneurial studies from the Zimbabwe Women’s University. She has also graduated with a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Arts,” he said.

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In addition, Mutasa said Mujuru had been a “consistently faithful and steadfast comrade” starting before Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in April 1980 up to now.

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He pointed out that the “motherly” Mujuru had advocated the advancement of women, adding that she always put other people’s interests and the party’s unity ahead of her own personal ambitions.

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“Amai Mujuru is an upright and strong woman of the highest integrity and a good mother. She shies away from crass feminism, and always points out that men need women and women need men.

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“Amai Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru is a team player and a fine leader,” Mutasa said.

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With the list of those purged from Zanu PF growing by the day, Mutasa said his Zanu PF faction embraced anyone within and outside the party who loved their country, and who believed in changing Zimbabwe for the better.

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“We are happy to say that the majority of the deposed (Zanu PF) chairmen of provinces were tried and tested war veterans and upright members of our party. Our hearts are with them, and they are with us,” Mutasa said.

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He added that failure to observe the party constitution as had been sadly observed in the disputed 2014 congress had created “anarchy, chaos and dictatorship as is currently happening”.

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“We believe that the party constitution must be aligned to and not deviate from the national constitution. Any such deviation should be resisted and met with timeous, strong and resolute defiance,” Mutasa said.

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He said that the illegal current party leadership betrayed the party’s democracy by “adopting dictatorship and bringing the country to its current state of suffering”, where “nothing is working”.

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In an apparent swipe at Mugabe and his wife Grace, Mutasa said that the time had come for the ruling party to stop emblazoning party regalia with faces of individuals who began to think that they were above the party and the country.

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He said the “real Zanu PF” cadres, Mutasa unlike the mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies),  had seasoned members of Zanla, Zipra and Zipa among its ranks who were being marginalised in the country.

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“We constitute the nucleus that bore the brunt of the national struggle. We fought and spearheaded the liberation war that brought freedom and independence in 1980,” Mutasa said.