Mujuru fears for her life

HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru has tightened her security as more and more intruders are caught and seen prowling at her farm in Beatrice — amid growing concerns that she could be the target of a sinister plot by her political enemies wanting to either assassinate her or plant incriminating evidence at her properties.

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Former Vice President Joice Mujuru is the widow of the late General Solomon Mujuru who died in a suspicious fire at his Beatrice farm
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru is the widow of the late General Solomon Mujuru who died in a suspicious fire at his Beatrice farm

In the past few months alone, since Mujuru and her allies were brutally culled from both Zanu PF and the government on murky charges of plotting to oust and kill President Robert Mugabe, several suspicious people have been apprehended at the farm — some of them policemen and members of the secret service.

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It has not assisted the mood and anxiety within Mujuru’s family and the ranks of her supporters that her decorated late husband, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, died after a mysterious fire gutted their house at the same farm in 2011.

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His charred remains were found after the inferno amid suspicions among some of her allies that he may have been murdered by the family’s political foes in the ruling party.

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“We are all living in fear for her, which is the reason why she has set up patrol teams that comb the vast farm throughout the night. It’s really terrible that this is happening in an independent Zimbabwe which this family sacrificed so much for,” a close family friend told the Daily News yesterday.

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But a stoic Mujuru — who supporters want to lead the breakaway Zanu PF formation using the slogan People First, and which includes many prominent liberation struggle stalwarts — is reluctant to discuss the matter, at least for now.

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“I appreciate your concerns but I cannot discuss some of these things now,” she told the Daily News yesterday.

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But Rugare Gumbo, one of her strongest supporters and spokesperson of Zanu PF (People First), said bluntly that the State was behind her continued harassment and was allegedly committing substantial resources to nail her and all those it perceived to be aligned to her.

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“Considering what happened to her husband in 2011, she has a right to be concerned. We are actually worried about her safety.

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“The State should ensure that she is safe as a citizen of this country. The fact that most people who are caught at the farm are police and State security agents makes the whole  ‘we were lost excuse’ that they invariably give most questionable,” Gumbo said.

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Bizarrely, he added, some of the intruders who had been caught at Mujuru’s farm had not only claimed to be lost, but have either “played mad” or claimed that they were her lovers.

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This, Gumbo said, was among the many reasons why People First was challenging the “post-congress Zanu PF to ensure that all citizens are free. You cannot have a country when a party invades churches, a country where a former VP is no longer safe”.

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An inquest into the death of Mujuru’s late husband, whose nom de guerre was Rex Nhongo, established that police details posted to keep sentry at the farm were sleeping when the fire reduced the country’s first army general to ashes.

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The inquest also established that police on duty at the farm had a defective communication radio and had not been changed as per normal police shift protocols.

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A source at the farm said yesterday that Mujuru had set up several patrol teams, but because of the size of the property, some loopholes could always be found by determined intruders.

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“The good thing though is that Mai Mujuru enjoys extensive links in government and the country’s security apparatus. Thus, she has been tipped off about some of these nefarious plots to harm her and plant arms caches on her farm, or those who tried to organise a fake robbery that would result in her death.

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“Remember she is the former VP and is respected by a lot of people in the establishment so they always tip her off when there is something that is happening. While she prefers not to talk about the matter to the media, Mai Mujuru is concerned, especially considering that the death of her husband has not been resolved,” the source said.

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And as the savage assault on Mujuru and her perceived allies intensifies, the likes of Gumbo and former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, have also complained of coming under increasing surveillance from panicky authorities keen to know what the disaffected liberation pioneers are planning and doing.

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The news regarding Mujuru’s safety also comes after Mugabe openly revealed in February that authorities were closely “watching” the movements of former comrades-turned-foes who were challenging the outcome of the ruling party’s disputed December 2014 congress.

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Meanwhile, workers at Mujuru’s farm confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that suspicious men continued to be seen moving around the farm, using different cars — some of them unmarked.

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Some of the intruders were allegedly noting and recording the movement of people entering and leaving the farm, as well as the registration numbers of their cars. Daily News