Vice-President Joice Mujuru of Zimbabwe Says She is Not Seeking to Become Mugabe's Successor
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Originally Published on
January 18, 2006, 14.25 HRS BST
Letting the cat out of the bag (or is that a briefcase?)...Joice Mujuru says she is not troubled about the succession race!
HARARE - Zimbabwe’s recently appointed co-vice president, Joice Mujuru, says she is not prepared to make huge sacrifices to become the country’s next leader.
“I won’t stand on a shaky stool and reach for the presidency. If the people say I am the best person, well... but I will not go out of my way, break my neck, to reach for the position,” the 50-year-old vice-president told state television on Tuesday.
Mujuru, also spoke on the poor performance of Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector following the controversial seizure by President Robert Mugabe’s government of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to blacks. She said most of the new black farmers were using drought as a scapegoat for their incompetence.
“The worst drought in this country gave us 60 percent water in our dams,” Mujuru said, adding that even land with irrigation facilities had not been utilised. She attributed the country’s high inflation, pegged at 502 percent in December, to imports. “People still want to import food so that their friends can benefit through that. But we are importing someone’s inflation,” she said.
The vice-president also blamed ministers in Mugabe’s government --- who she accused of putting self-interest above national goals --- for the country’s economic crisis, characterised by the high inflation and shortages of foreign currency, fuel and other basic commodities.
“We left our people for too long without giving them guidance,” she said. “Some of the ministers may think: ‘We will be lengthening Mugabe’s time in office (by performing our duties)’.
But his time will come. Nature will demand what it demands.” Mujuru said decentralisation of economic development from the major cities to the rural areas --- a policy pursed with little success by Mugabe in the early 1980s --- could get Zimbabwe out of the mire. The vice-president appeared to disagree with Mugabe on sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on some members of the Zimbabwean government and their relatives.
“When you realise you are under sanctions, you don’t stand on the top of a building and start shouting. You don’t talk --- you act,” she said. Mugabe has used international fora to attack the so-called smart sanctions, telling the world the embargo was targeted at Zimbabwe as a whole and that it was punishment for his land affirmative action.
Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru was appointed co-vice president in November 2005 following controversial elections in the ruling ZANU PF party that resulted in the dismissal of information minister Jonathan Moyo for allegedly plotting against Mujuru’s elevation. She replaced Simon Muzenda, who died in 2003, as co-vice president.
The other vice-president is 83-year-old Joseph Msika. Until her appointment last November, Mujuru had served as a minister in different portfolios since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. Mujuru is the wife of Solomon Mujuru, a former commander who is believed to be the kingmaker of Zimbabwean politics.