Opposition leader Joice Mujuru (file photo).
Former vice president Joice Mujuru has admitted she had knowledge of the Zimbabwean government Gukurahundi atrocities that took place in the early 1980s.
During an interview on BBC’s Hard-Talk show this week, Mujuru, however, said that she was just a junior minister who had no powers to stop the carnage that was carried out by the country’s fifth brigade.
“I did not say a word against it, but those were executive orders that were used by the Fifth Brigade. With an executive person, what else would you do?” said Mujuru.
She said this as she responded to a question asked by Hard-Talk anchor Stephen Sucker: “Let’s look at the record, you were a minister during the massacres of thousands of people, Gukurahundi, Matabeleland people killed, you knew it, you knew it, but you did not say a word against it.”
At least 20 000 civilians were killed during the Gukurahundi massacre.
The only time that Mugabe ever talked about the massacre, he reportedly described it as a “moment of madness”.
Mujuru was kicked out after Mugabe’s wife Grace, launched a campaign against her, accusing her of instigating factional fighting within the ruling Zanu-PF party and plotting to topple the veteran leader.
Mujuru, however, denied the charges and formed her own party, along with other former Zanu-PF members.
She had served in President Mugabe government for 34 years, with 10 of those as his deputy.
During the 25 minute interview, Mujuru said if elected the next president, she would repeal the indigenisation policy that Mugabe’s government introduced.
Mujuru also denied allegations that she was a major beneficiary of diamond looting from the Marange-Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Duty free shops
“You think if I had all that richness I would be suffering like I am right now? … It was a joke, these people never saw me there and I have never been a miner. I have never been a miner,” Mujuru retorted, adding: “She (referring to herself) is poor and struggling to eke out a living from the farm which she grabbed from a white farmer,” said Mujuru.
But, according to the state owned Herald newspaper, there was evidence she was among the wealthiest in the southern African country.
Mujuru allegedly had vast interest in duty free shops that were operating at the Harare international airport, trading as International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd, with her daughter Nyasha De Campo (Mujuru) among the directors.
The report also said that due to her marriage to the late general Mujuru, the ex deputy president was entitled to some of the general’s estates which were valued at billions of dollars.