WAR veterans have reacted angrily to what they called Zanu PF’s belittling of female combatants of the country’s liberation war following State media “exposés” of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s alleged sexcapades during the war.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday sprang to Mujuru’s defence, saying she remained an inspiration to all freedom fighters.
“The war was not a nunnery. Joice Mujuru is a fully-fledged war veteran, a fighter and a leading woman combatant. She trained the critical mass of cadres who defeated Ian Smith’s Rhodesian army in the four short years following the resumption of war in 1976. She was among 10 specially-trained cadres who met thousands of new recruits at the Zhunda Camp outside Chimoio, Mozambique, in 1975,” Mutsvangwa said
Mutsvangwa said, instead, it was President Robert Mugabe who benefited from Mujuru’s efforts.
“None other than war rookie Robert Mugabe benefited from Joice Mujuru, the trained cadre at Zhunda Camp. She will remain an inspiration in her own right well beyond those who glory in that which is accidentally bestowed by marriage certificates. Such reactionary apostasy will come to naught.”
Mutsvangwa accused unnamed people in Zanu PF of seeking to revise the history of the liberation struggle and the role played by female combatants during the armed struggle.
“It is abhorrent historical revisionism. Tichaona Freedom Nyamubaya and many brave women combatants would take the gravest offence to this desecration of their valiant sacrifice,” Mutsvangwa said. “Incidentally, I first heard such blasphemy right in the Zanu PF politburo. Sadly, no one bothered to dress down the source of such utterances.”
Mujuru, who was axed from Zanu PF last year, reportedly trained the likes of Mutsvangwa, national heroes Willard Zororo Duri and John Mayowe, ex-Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, Office of the President and Cabinet deputy secretary Justin Mupamhanga, field combat casualty Neville Dembetembe and paediatrician Masimba Mwazha, according to the war veterans’ chairman.
ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda weighed in, saying the allegations about Mujuru’s “lack of integrity” also reflected badly on those who appointed her.
“If Mujuru was fake, then Zimbabweans must begin to ask tough questions about the calibre of the appointing authority. Mujuru did not appoint herself to Cabinet, the Zanu PF politburo or all other positions she held over the 34 years she was part of government and the ruling party,” Matemadanda said.
“It has become fashionable for those in Zanu PF to speak ill of every person when they are either expelled or when they decide to leave the party.”
Matemadanda said Mujuru had been allowed to act as President on numerous instances in her 10 years as Vice-President.
“What does this say about her principal? Why did they allow her access to State power? Zimbabweans must ask these questions and demand answers. Is it because those who appointed her are naïve, not fit for office or are they also fake? Those throwing mud at her must remember everyone has a private life and people also know the things they have done. Mujuru has a family and deserves to be treated as a human being,” Matemadanda said.
Both Mutsvangwa and Matemadanda were recently fired from Zanu PF alongside several other top war veteran leaders on allegations of indiscpline.
The State media has begun a smear campaign against Mujuru amid claims she was no more than a concubine during the liberation struggle despite historical evidence that she was the inaugural leader of the Zanu women’s league in the late 70s.