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Fresh questions emerge over Gen Mujuru's death

by Staff reporter
16 Aug 2016 at 14:30hrs | Views

A panicked Zanu-PF has gone into overdrive in its desperate bid to scupper the pending 2018 electoral deal between opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru, while throwing up all kinds of political conspiracies about the revered liberation struggle icon, the late General Solomon Mujuru.

But the savage propaganda blitzkrieg - particularly the assault on the political legacy of the immensely popular Mujuru in lapdog State media yesterday - appeared to backfire spectacularly with analysts, liberation struggle stalwarts, disaffected Zanu-PF bigwigs and opposition parties saying this raised questions about the late general's contested death.

Former Mugabe confidante and senior Cabinet minister, Didymus Mutasa told the Daily News that the attacks on the late husband of Mujuru strongly suggested that there was "more to Solomon's death than the official version indicated".

"I think the current government's officials who are responsible for security should tell us what really happened to Solomon. Officials such as those in the Central Intelligence Organisation should tell us everything because it is only fair for everyone if they do that," Mutasa said.

Zimbabwe's first black army commander, who was seen as a kingmaker within the warring Zanu-PF, and who is credited with playing a major role in catapulting President Robert Mugabe to the leadership of the ruling party in the mid 1970s, was found dead after a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farmhouse, just outside Harare, in August 2011.

State media went into overdrive yesterday, blaming the late decorated soldier for the impending coalition between Tsvangirai and Mujuru, after the two opposition heavyweights sent fresh shivers down the spines of panicking Zanu-PF bigwigs at the weekend when they publicly flaunted their readiness to join forces against the ruling party ahead of Zimbabwe's eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

In a move that political analysts described as "very significant", Mujuru - now leader of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) - held hands and also joined Tsvangirai during another massive demonstration in Gweru that was organised by the MDC.

And in a reciprocal development that was also variously described as "historic", Mujuru - who was hounded out of Zanu-PF in December 2014 on untested allegations of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe - was later joined by the MDC top brass at her own rally in the same city.

Interestingly, Zanu-PF politburo member and Higher Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, appeared to take umbrage with the State media's crass attacks on the late general.

"Gen Mujuru's role in union exposed as Tsvangirai-Mujuru go public. But in Africa wafa wanaka (In Africa we don't insult the dead)! Let's expose …Mujuru in her own right. Gen Mujuru is not here to explain himself!" said Moyo on micro-blogging site Twitter.

On its part, Tsvangirai's MDC said the wheels of a grand coalition were in motion and "no amount of propaganda" would get in the way of the pending electoral pact.

"There was absolutely nothing wrong with MDC officials attending Solomon's funeral as State media are saying. Even on a personal level, from the time that I was a young boy, I used to idolise Josiah Tongogara and Rex Nhongo.

"I actually feel very proud that I attended his burial at the national Heroes' Acre. Rex Nhongo was a revolutionary icon and no amount of hostile and puerile propaganda by the Zanu-PF-controlled media can take that away from him.

"The Zanu-PF regime will soon be receiving the shock of their lives. It is fractured in more places than one and it's just a matter of time before this beleaguered and bankrupt regime crumbles," MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

Joice herself said her husband had left an indelible mark on the body politic of Zimbabwe and that as a result, she was not fazed by "futile attempts" to rubbish him through State media.

She also told the Daily News through her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro that it was "disrespectful to her family and all well-meaning Zimbabweans" that Zanu-PF would want to discredit her husband when there were still many unanswered questions regarding his death.

"The question of interrogating and unravelling what happened to the late general is not a one day event but is a process.

"We believe that soon we will find the answers. However, Mai Mujuru is a person with a forgiving heart and she has made it clear that she will not seek revenge, even though the killers will be revealed in time.

"Today, (August 15) is a remarkable and historic day, for it will forever be written in the history of Zimbabwe as the day the country lost its most beloved son of the soil, that is so notwithstanding the mysterious and unexplained circumstances in which his life was taken away.

"We remember this day with heavy hearts but we urge all Zimbabweans to seek solace and comfort in the hope that God will provide the ultimate answer to the mysterious way the decorated soldier lost his life," Nyandoro said.

On the other hand academic Ibbo Mandaza said "It is rather interesting that on the anniversary of his death such a story is written. People are going to speculate, and I think it is in bad taste considering that there is enduring suspicion about who killed him".

Another scholar, Maxwell Saungweme, said the death of Mujuru had left "more questions than answers and the nation deserves to be told the truth about his death".

"The revelations in The Herald point to someone somewhere who knows how the general died. It is really hard to believe that a general perished in a fire where no one claimed to have started and extinguished it. As they say, time will tell," Saungweme said.

The late general's brother, Joel, told the Daily News earlier this year that a 12-member team was investigating the death of the revered liberation war commander - who is known to have helped to catapult Mugabe to his current post despite fierce resistance from the frontline States which were helping liberation forces at the time.

Apart from that, Rex is said to have been the only man who could stand up to Mugabe, and his widow Joice has often intimated in previous interviews that the national hero may have been eliminated by his enemies.

"These matters should have been dealt with a long time ago. It is really painful that your brother is demonised every time regardless of the work he did for this country. Kuzvisungirira kuri nani (it is better for me to hang myself). I am the only one left," the elder Mujuru said then.

"That Zanu-PF is suffering serious strain going into the 2018 elections is obvious to all. Unfortunately too, it is stating the obvious to say most of our problems, if truth be told, are self-inflicted if you look at the worsening factional and succession wars eating the party, and which are likely to all see another vice president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) falling this year.

"Still, this is all no reason to soil Rex's name when he can't defend himself from his grave at the national Heroes Acre. But even more importantly, it forces some of us to revisit the circumstances surrounding his controversial death in 2011, which up to this day has not been explained satisfactorily," a senior Zanu-PF official said yesterday.

In its hatchet job on the Mujurus yesterday, The Herald said the pending electoral pact between Tsvangirai and Mujuru was allegedly "a project that started before the death of the late General Mujuru".

"The Herald has it on good authority that the late General had several meetings with the MDC-T leader and agreed on a scheme of taking over and a power-sharing formula that would incorporate the General's interests.

"It is understood that the project had the backing of Western countries who felt that MDC-T needed someone with liberation war credentials to enhance its power bid against President Mugabe.

"Even at the funeral of General (Mujuru), we had a very awkward situation where MDC-T people were part and parcel of the mourners which is quite unusual. That stemmed from the interaction that was taking place behind the scenes involving the General or some of his aides and Mr Tsvangirai but also underpinned with Western interests," the government-controlled daily said.

Source - Daily News