Joice Mujuru, Vice President of Zimbabwe 2004-2014 HARDtalk


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Joice Mujuru, Vice President of Zimbabwe 2004-2014

Stephen Sackur speaks to Joice Mujuru, former vice president of Zimbabwe. She broke away from the ruling party two years ago and now leads her own opposition party.


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Welcome to HARDtalk.

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I'm Stephen Sackur.

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President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is 93 years old.

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His wife recently suggested he could win re-election

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as a corpse.

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But failing that, Zimbabwe needs to grapple with

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the issue of succession.

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And will follow Mugabe?

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My guest is his former Vice President and one-time heir

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apparent Joice Mujuru.

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She broke away from the ruling party two years ago and now

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leads her own opposition party, but how tainted is she by her long

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association with Robert Mugabe?

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Joice Mujuru, welcome to HARDtalk. Thank you.

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How can you persuade the Zimbabwean people that you are an agent

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of change when for most of your adult life you've been one

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of Robert Mugabe's most loyal allies and associates?

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Thank you very much.

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The way how I left Zanu PF did not go down well with the rest

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of the country, because I never replied, I never did anything.

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But they know me, even during the Robert Mugabe government,

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that as much as I was loyal to my party, which I fought for,

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I was also loyal to Zimbabweans because when I ran ministries

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they know the relationship that I was building with them.

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You have a record, that's true, for more than a decade

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you were Vice President of the country, which during that

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time fell into the most terrible economic crisis to the point

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where today a quarter of your entire population is dependent

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on humanitarian aid.

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More than half of all Zimbabwe's workers are actually working

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outside the country.

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Your economy and your politics are in the most terrible mess.

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And that is your legacy, as well as Robert Mugabe's.

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True, because I was in government, yes I have to be associated

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with that failure.

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But they know whilst I was in government running social

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ministries I was never in the office, I was always

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with the people trying to introduce programmes and businesses.

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I was one of the business associates whilst I was in government to try

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and show them that I was for the better part of the country.

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It comes down to credibility, though.

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When you left, actually you were expelled from Zanu PF

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and you set up your own party, which of course now has sort

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of collapsed and you've got another party.

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But when you first left you said this: together,

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you said, we can build Zimbabwe into a modern democratic state

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with a vibrant economy where every citizen is responsible for peace,

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for freedom, democracy and we can prosper.

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Yes.

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Let's look at the record.

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You were a minister during massacres.

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Gukurahundi.

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Yes, I was Minister of Women Affairs.

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20,000 Matabele people killed. I was Minister of Women Affairs.

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You knew it. You did not say a word against it.

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I did not say a word against it but those were executive orders that

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were used by the Fifth Brigade, and I'm sure with an executive

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person what else would you do?

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But, I'm sorry, how can you persuade the citizens that you believe

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in freedom, democracy, prosperity when your record

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is so appalling.

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You didn't walk away from government.

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You never stood up to Robert Mugabe.

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Zimbabweans, as much as we would know they would not

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forget what they have gone through.

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But what they are looking forward to now is a good future.

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They are now futuristic.

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They judge people on their record. They judge...

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Hang on.

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In the past you've tried to say you didn't even know

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that the Gukurahundi killings were happening.

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Are you now prepared to say that is not true?

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You certainly knew, you just did nothing about it.

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You know, when they ask me about it, because I said by association

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I was in government, but when you say when it was being

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planned, no planning and by association is totally different.

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With all respect, Mrs Mujuru, your husband Solomon Mujuru was one

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of the most senior commanders in the Armed Forces.

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Yes.

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But what...

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So you obviously knew what was going on.

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What I know about Solomon Mujuru and the Fifth Brigade was not part

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of the Armed Forces.

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It was a brigade that was commended outside the Army.

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He only was involved when this was to be integrated into the Army.

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That's what I knew. He knew and you knew.

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That's the bottom line.

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And the Zimbabwean people have to judge you for what you did.

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Yes, they will judge.

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They will judge somebody for what she or he will have done physically.

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They will judge.

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They will judge, I think, a person's ethics and morals.

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Let's talk about different challenges you faced in government.

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2005, the Mugabe government's decision to clean out

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many of the poor people living in an official housing

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in urban areas.

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Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people rendered homeless.

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Many killed as well.

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You knew about that too.

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What did you do about that?

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There are a lot of things that I did not agree with.

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A lot of things that I did not go along with.

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Policies.

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Yes.

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You've described Robert Mugabe as a father figure.

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You have said that you felt he was grooming you to be the next

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president of Zimbabwe.

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So, you clearly were very happy to be part of a regime

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that was undertaking this sort of policy.

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It was the situation then when I was working with him.

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And I wanted to show that things can change.

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Even if they are not right.

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Things were only changing for the worse as far as I can see.

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Today we can give an example of Tanzania.

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Well, look...

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Today we can give an example of China.

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The thing is we don't need to look at other examples.

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Yes!

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We can look at what happened.

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Because what I wanted to do was to change things from within.

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But it never happened.

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And I will tell you, with the programmes that I was doing

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and which I was never given a chance to do that,

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but I can tell you a few that I did which may be angered them and hence

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they labelled me a liberal.

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I'm just trying to get to grips with your relationship

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with Robert Mugabe.

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Yeah.

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You told the South African Broadcasting Corporation just

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a month or two ago, you said that you still have respect

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for Robert Mugabe, and that you, and this is something that you said

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to them, that you are prepared to forgive him for things

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he has done.

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to Robert Mugabe.

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You're not a victim.

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You're somebody who benefited from Robert Mugabe's policies.

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You were one of his most trusted ministers.

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I will tell you.

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My party is not for retribution. We are for restitution.

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So, what we are trying to do is how best we can move forward.

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We're not going to ask them to forget.

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But we are going to ask them to look for a way how Zimbabwe

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can move forward.

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Because, if we continue to live in the past it means

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will make another move.

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Do you believe in justice? I do.

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Do you believe that all of those Zimbabweans who have suffered

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at the hands of the Mugabe regime, for all of the different policies,

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some of which I've just outlined, should they be justice?

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I've already started that. You won't believe me.

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I've been to Matabele more than seven times as from the end

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of last year and this year trying to show them that,

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you know what, when we are in this situation it doesn't mean you agree

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with everything, it doesn't mean you know everything.

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But this is how you can judge me now as Joice Mujuru with her party,

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National People's Party.

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The thing is in Matabeleland they don't believe you, do they?

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Activist Israel Dube, who is a leading campaigner

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for Matabeleland, writes, he said this of your attempt

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to reach out to his people.

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He said, "The people here will not be fooled.

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How can a Zanu PF top official, the wife of one of the most

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high-ranking national army commanders claim that she didn't

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know what happened to my people?

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She must have been blind or deaf, or both.

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She is bound by collective responsibility."

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Let me tell you.

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By collective responsibility, yes, because I was in government.

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But I've been to Matabeleland, I've also met activists,

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and we have been talking and they have been asking questions

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and I've been meeting chiefs.

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You know, the reason why I'm this bold to go and meet these chiefs,

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it means a heart in its correct place.

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You say you...

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If I had my own way I would have done it differently.

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But now that I've got my own party to tell you the truth,

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I'm very happy to meet those people.

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I'm very happy to tell them that not everything that people in government

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might have taken a role, physical role, but they will be

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with association, yes, like me.

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We'll get to your new party later. Yes.

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But let's stick with the idea of justice.

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Yes.

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Do you think that those who profited, profited to a massive

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extent from corrupt practices during the Mugabe years,

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they should be held to account, shouldn't they?

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We know corruption has done a lot of damage to the economy

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and corruption is the worst thing, it's the enemy of what is existing

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in Zimbabwe today.

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So are you prepared now to confess? Oh, yes.

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To your own corrupt behaviours. Because, I haven't...

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Uh...

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If I was corrupt with all what I've gone through people should have

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taken me in to court.

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In the interests of transparency then, let's just establish

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a few facts.

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Yes.

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How much are you worth? I only have a house.

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I only run on a farm, a farm which I'm still now

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negotiating with the owner.

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And to tell you the truth I'm very free to take everything down

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and Zimbabwe will know who I am because I'm not a rich person.

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You don't mention diamond mines.

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We know for a fact your husband Solomon Mujuru.

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Yes.

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He owned vast diamond mining interests.

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We know from various scandals, frankly, involving your daughter

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and allegations against you personally that hundreds

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of thousands of dollars' worth of diamonds and gold,

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un-certificated, were presented to European dealers on your behalf.

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Now, I just wonder where you got the diamonds and the gold from.

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Do you think if I had all that richness I would be

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suffering this much?

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Do you think since Mujuru died six years ago and they have now gone

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trust his estate they wouldn't have said something about how rich he is?

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Well, it's not just about your husband.

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Knowing Zimbabwe government... Human Rights Watch...

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Knowing Zimbabwe... Hang on.

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Let's just lay the facts on the table.

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Human Rights Watch 2009 wrote a report where they interviewed

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a number of miners in one of Zimbabwe's biggest minefields.

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They said to Human Rights Watch, "We named a portion of the diamond

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fields after Mrs Mujuru, they called it Mujuru's ant hill

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because on several nights trucks would go there and we were told

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by the police that the portion there belongs to the Vice President,

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Mrs Mujuru.

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If you go through the Cabinet if you had a chance it came

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to the Cabinet and because next to Chiadzwa I was running

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a community programme, which was producing horticultural

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produce which was being sold here in London.

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These weren't gardeners. No.

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These were diamond mines. No, no, no, no.

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I'm telling....

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And the part of the mine that they worked on was known

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as Mrs Mujuru's ant hill.

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I'm telling you the joke...

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I'm telling you the joke about the ant hill.

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It's a joke, because after they had heard that I had that they went

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to investigate as a Cabinet team, which was set by the whole Cabinet,

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and they discovered that it was a joke.

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Because these people never saw me there.

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I've never been a miner.

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I've never owned any thing in terms of business.

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So they said no, no, no, these were jokes that

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were going through between the two communities because

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they stay side-by-side.

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And they were saying, though, you changed our life

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through the horticultural project in the Cashel Valley.

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Well, it's interesting you focus on horticulture.

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The record focuses on diamond and on gold.

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Yes, that's why...

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There's a company called First Star Europe.

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Are you aware of them? No!

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I've never been involved in any thing to do with diamonds.

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Well, clearly you must be aware of First Star Europe because they...

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I heard about it because I've never seen people coming to talk

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to me about it.

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They were approached by your daughter.

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They were approached about a massive deal in gold.

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It turned out to be Congolese gold. But why is it...?

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The company discovered that you were behind

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many of the transactions.

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No...

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And they refused to deal with your daughter or with

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you because you were on a sanctions list.

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You know all of this. No, no, no, no.

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I'm telling you, these are rumours. These are social media talks.

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If I was involved...

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We have on the records statements from this company First Star saying

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that they discovered that you were behind the deal,

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they wanted nothing more to do with it and they put

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you and your daughter on a blacklist.

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That's not a social media rumour.

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I'm telling you because I'm not involved.

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I wasn't involved.

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If I was involved, how would I beat this much free from such

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a terrible incident?

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How?

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I suppose the people who will judge this other people

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of Zimbabwe, aren't they?

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Yes, they will.

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They know who I am.

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I've nothing to hide.

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And they know where you live. Yes.

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You live on Alamein Farm. Oh, yeah, Alamein Farm.

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3500 hectares. Number 4 Springfield Road.

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Yes.

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That, of course, was owned by a white farmer.

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Yes, who is a friend of mine.

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Guy Watson-Smith. Yes.

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Well, you say he is a friend of yours.

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He's been seeking compensation from you.

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You have not yet paid him.

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I will show you the e-mails, including this morning's e-mail.

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I'm on an e-mail basis with Guy Watson.

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Yes, because he wants his money.

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But I looked for him.

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He never, he never looked for me.

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You have said on the record... I looked for him...

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It wasn't fair, you said. Yes.

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I want to give him what is due to him.

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Yes, yes.

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How much have you given him?

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Not yet because the programme is still...

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Not yet? Yes.

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Because I didn't give the date.

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I didn't do anything.

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But what we agreed was this thing was supposed

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to be done according to the laws of Zimbabwe.

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He is owed for all of the assets. Yes.

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Not the land itself but the movable assets.

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Yes.

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He's owed, as I understand it, over $1.5 million.

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When are you going to pay him?

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That is between me and Guy Watson, because we are discussing as to how

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that should be handled.

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This issue of putting it on air is the one that

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is being abused by the people in the media, because they know

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that once we say that, and if there is any

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glitch or hitch, and then they will come back to both of them and say,

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why is it that you haven't been paid?

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It's because I don't have cash at the moment.

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You don't have cash? No, no, no.

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I don't have cash. Well...

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But what we do have is the arrangement that we have to organise

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the two of us, and we are in agreement as to how things have to

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be handled.

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So, let us be clear then. Yes.

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When you say it wasn't fair the way you acquired the land,

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are you saying that the entire confiscation programme run by the

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Mugabe government, which let's remind ourselves, you were a very

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senior minister of, going back to 2000 when the confiscation

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white farmland began, you're saying that was entirely wrong, are you?

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Because I never even took a farm for myself.

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That was through inheritance the way how I got Gaya's farm.

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How many farms do you own?

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Your family. Your family.

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My family? Yes.

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As Mujuru family? Yes.

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Just that one. Just that one?

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You know, I lost two farms in Shamba.

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I got Alamein Farm through inheritance.

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See, many of the families at the top of Zanu PF own

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a multiple farms.

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I have never acquired a farm.

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I got Alamein Farm through inheritance.

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Are you saying...?

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And the family lost two farms which they had.

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You see, you're running for office. Yes.

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I think you want to run ultimately for President.

0:17:100:17:12

Yes, yes.

0:17:120:17:12

So, are you saying to the people of Zimbabwe

0:17:120:17:15

that if you win power you will either return the land to their

0:17:150:17:19

original owners, or you will offer

0:17:190:17:20

fair compensation to every white farmer?

0:17:200:17:27

Is that what you're saying?

0:17:270:17:29

Yes, fair compensation.

0:17:290:17:30

There is a law to that.

0:17:300:17:32

We are for constitutionalism, the constitution has to be followed

0:17:320:17:34

and we know personal rights, you know, rights, have to be

0:17:340:17:37

respected so property rights have to be respected.

0:17:370:17:42

We don't want to take things for granted.

0:17:420:17:46

Because it's hard for somebody to come up with something

0:17:460:17:49

for the family.

0:17:490:17:53

What about the indigenisation programme?

0:17:530:17:58

We've talked earlier about the failings, the disastrous

0:17:580:18:01

state of the Zimbabwean economy.

0:18:010:18:02

One of the things which makes it very difficult for foreign direct

0:18:020:18:05

investment to come into your country are now the rules

0:18:050:18:08

on what's called indigenisation.

0:18:080:18:09

Would you roll all of those back too?

0:18:090:18:11

That we have already spoken about it.

0:18:110:18:13

As the party that we are going to repeal it.

0:18:130:18:16

We are going to repeal it because we are for investment.

0:18:160:18:19

We want investors, both local and international to come and help

0:18:190:18:22

us as we are rebuilding our economy.

0:18:220:18:27

You see, I'm still struggling on this.

0:18:270:18:29

Yeah.

0:18:290:18:29

Everything you said suggests to me that on every policy issue,

0:18:290:18:32

every strategy, every human rights abuse, you post,

0:18:320:18:34

albeit privately, everything that Robert Mugabe did.

0:18:350:18:36

But there you sat by his side as his deputy and Vice President

0:18:360:18:40

from 2004 to 2014.

0:18:400:18:41

It doesn't mean I agreed with him.

0:18:410:18:44

It doesn't mean I agreed with him.

0:18:440:18:46

But it gets even more dysfunctional because in 2011 your husband

0:18:460:18:51

Solomon Mujuru, who we have talked about, he was burned to death

0:18:510:18:58

at the farm that we've just discussed.

0:18:580:18:59

Now, he, according to many people in Zimbabwe, didn't die by accident,

0:18:590:19:03

he was murdered.

0:19:030:19:06

You say you believe he was murdered by people connected to the Mugabe

0:19:060:19:10

regime, and yet for three more years you still served as Vice President.

0:19:100:19:13

How could you?

0:19:130:19:14

I am telling you, I fought in that party.

0:19:140:19:17

I wanted to change from within.

0:19:170:19:26

If you follow issues and programmes that I did I thought

0:19:260:19:29

I was going to win.

0:19:290:19:30

That's why nine out of ten provinces had decided to do what they thought

0:19:300:19:34

was right and chose the leadership that they wanted, which Mugabe

0:19:340:19:37

did not like and that leadership was in support of me.

0:19:370:19:40

How could you, just a few months ago, describe Robert Mugabe

0:19:400:19:48

as a father figure when you seem to believe that people close to him

0:19:480:19:52

are responsible for the murder of your husband?

0:19:520:19:54

He appeared to be a father figure to me.

0:19:540:19:57

And that I should not run away from.

0:19:570:19:59

Because during this trouble these were people who were giving

0:19:590:20:01

leadership to everyone who was in this trouble.

0:20:010:20:04

And, mind you, according to our custom these other respects

0:20:040:20:06

that we give to our seniors.

0:20:060:20:08

It calls into question your judgment.

0:20:080:20:10

About Mugabe?

0:20:100:20:10

About everything.

0:20:100:20:13

Everything we've discussed.

0:20:130:20:15

It is hard to understand how your political career makes any

0:20:150:20:18

sense at all.

0:20:180:20:25

If you have morals, ethics, principles it's very hard

0:20:250:20:27

to understand anything you have done.

0:20:270:20:29

The issue is you have never been to Zimbabwe.

0:20:290:20:31

The issue is you have never seen what personally I have done

0:20:310:20:34

for the country of Zimbabwe.

0:20:340:20:36

The issue is you have never come to Zimbabwe to interview

0:20:360:20:39

for yourself those people to say, how do you take Joice as a person?

0:20:390:20:43

Well, actually I have been to Zimbabwe and I have

0:20:430:20:45

reported from Zimbabwe.

0:20:450:20:46

You have not... You have not...

0:20:460:20:48

You have been...

0:20:480:20:49

So I think I have a little bit of an idea how Zimbabwe

0:20:490:20:53

and politics works.

0:20:530:20:53

So, let's...

0:20:530:20:54

We don't have much time.

0:20:540:20:55

Let's get to the future.

0:20:550:20:57

You have been there but you have not asked about me.

0:20:570:21:00

Well, I have, actually.

0:21:000:21:01

No.

0:21:010:21:01

Yes, I have. No.

0:21:010:21:02

CHUCKLES

0:21:020:21:05

Let's talk about the future.

0:21:050:21:06

You've laid out and discussed your record You seem to believe that

0:21:060:21:09

as a record that will appeal to the people of Zimbabwe.

0:21:090:21:12

You set up a party, Zimbabwe People First,

0:21:120:21:14

and within a year of setting it up there was infighting,

0:21:140:21:17

there was division and the party has collapsed with some of its senior

0:21:170:21:21

figures, including a former minister, Didymus Mutasa,

0:21:210:21:23

accusing you of being dictatorial and expelling

0:21:230:21:25

you from your own party.

0:21:250:21:26

It wasn't... We expelled them...

0:21:260:21:30

Because right now, ask who has the people.

0:21:300:21:40

Who formed National People's Party?

0:21:410:21:42

Where have they come from?

0:21:420:21:43

Half of them have been people who have never been in politics

0:21:430:21:46

and if they didn't want to be boggled down by things of the past.

0:21:460:21:50

And the other half is comprised of people who have come from other

0:21:500:21:54

parties to form National People's Party.

0:21:540:21:55

The people you set up this party with now say you are impossible

0:21:550:21:59

to work with.

0:21:590:22:00

You've changed the name of your own

0:22:000:22:02

party to the National People's Party.

0:22:020:22:06

Are you prepared to work with perhaps the best-known

0:22:060:22:08

opposition figure in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, as a joint ticket

0:22:080:22:11

to run for President against Mugabe if he runs in 2018,

0:22:110:22:14

you will run with Tsvangirai, will you?

0:22:140:22:16

Excellent, because we've already started talking about coalition.

0:22:160:22:18

And who will take the ticket?

0:22:180:22:20

Who will actually run for President, you or Tsvangirai, under

0:22:200:22:23

this coalition agreement?

0:22:230:22:23

It's part of the process that we are carrying on right now,

0:22:230:22:27

which I can't say who is who because it's part of the results

0:22:270:22:30

that we're going to come up with.

0:22:300:22:32

But between Morgan and myself, we are working together very well.

0:22:320:22:35

We have done a few, you know, addresses together,

0:22:350:22:37

a few demonstrations together.

0:22:380:22:42

And right now we are actually working on a road map,

0:22:420:22:45

MoU, so that we are able to work together.

0:22:460:22:48

Would you accept Morgan Tsvangirai being the head, the leader,

0:22:480:22:51

the figurehead of this movement and being the candidate

0:22:510:22:54

for President in 2018?

0:22:540:23:00

Anyone.

0:23:000:23:01

Anyone who is chosen according to our discussion I will be able

0:23:010:23:04

to work with.

0:23:040:23:05

The former finance minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe

0:23:050:23:07

is an unstable, fragile state that is on the verge of implosion.

0:23:070:23:10

Would you agree with that?

0:23:100:23:11

That is his analysis.

0:23:110:23:12

You know Biti has been a minister of finance.

0:23:120:23:18

Yes.

0:23:180:23:20

And he understands. Yes.

0:23:200:23:21

What has been going on.

0:23:210:23:23

The mess that has been made of your country over the last,

0:23:230:23:26

let's say 20 years, at least.

0:23:260:23:28

He would tell you exactly what happened during his time

0:23:280:23:30

of office as Minister of Finance.

0:23:310:23:32

He would be the better person because if I tell you myself

0:23:320:23:36

you might say you are singing your former party's song.

0:23:360:23:39

But ask some of those people whom I was working

0:23:390:23:42

with, including Tendai.

0:23:420:23:44

In a word, you oversaw the collapse of Zimbabwe.

0:23:440:23:48

Do you really think you're the right person

0:23:480:23:50

to oversee its revitalisation?

0:23:500:23:55

Yes, because I know how to change.

0:23:550:23:57

I know how to involve people who matter and these other people

0:23:570:24:00

who have come to work with me.

0:24:000:24:02

All right, Joice Mujuru, thank you very much.

0:24:020:24:04

Thank you very much.

0:24:040:24:05

Thanks for being on HARDtalk. Thank you.

0:24:050:24:07

Thank you. My pleasure.

0:24:070:24:09

Good evening.

0:24:310:24:35

We've got a lot of largely dry and pretty mild weather on the cards

0:24:350:24:39

for much of the week ahead.

0:24:390:24:41

But, with clear skies Sunday night, Monday morning starts on quite

0:24:410:24:44

Stephen Sackur speaks to Joice Mujuru, former vice president of Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is 93 years old. His wife recently suggested he could win re-election as a corpse, but failing that Zimbabwe needs to grapple with the issue of the succession. Who will follow Mugabe? Joice Mujuru is his former vice-president and one-time heir apparent. She broke away from the ruling party two years ago and now leads her own opposition party, but how tainted is she by her long association with Robert Mugabe?