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.
Browse content similar to Joice Mujuru, Vice President of Zimbabwe 2004-2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Welcome to HARDtalk.
I'm Stephen Sackur.
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 succession.
And will follow Mugabe?
My guest is his former Vice President and one-time heir
apparent Joice Mujuru.
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?
Joice Mujuru, welcome to HARDtalk. Thank you.
How can you persuade the Zimbabwean people that you are an agent
of change when for most of your adult life you've been one
of Robert Mugabe's most loyal allies and associates?
Thank you very much.
The way how I left Zanu PF did not go down well with the rest
of the country, because I never replied, I never did anything.
But they know me, even during the Robert Mugabe government,
that as much as I was loyal to my party, which I fought for,
I was also loyal to Zimbabweans because when I ran ministries
they know the relationship that I was building with them.
You have a record, that's true, for more than a decade
you were Vice President of the country, which during that
time fell into the most terrible economic crisis to the point
where today a quarter of your entire population is dependent
on humanitarian aid.
More than half of all Zimbabwe's workers are actually working
outside the country.
Your economy and your politics are in the most terrible mess.
And that is your legacy, as well as Robert Mugabe's.
True, because I was in government, yes I have to be associated
with that failure.
But they know whilst I was in government running social
ministries I was never in the office, I was always
with the people trying to introduce programmes and businesses.
I was one of the business associates whilst I was in government to try
and show them that I was for the better part of the country.
It comes down to credibility, though.
When you left, actually you were expelled from Zanu PF
and you set up your own party, which of course now has sort
of collapsed and you've got another party.
But when you first left you said this: together,
you said, we can build Zimbabwe into a modern democratic state
with a vibrant economy where every citizen is responsible for peace,
for freedom, democracy and we can prosper.
Let's look at the record.
You were a minister during massacres.
Yes, I was Minister of Women Affairs.
20,000 Matabele people killed. I was Minister of Women Affairs.
You knew it. You did not say a word against it.
I did not say a word against it but those were executive orders that
were used by the Fifth Brigade, and I'm sure with an executive
person what else would you do?
But, I'm sorry, how can you persuade the citizens that you believe
in freedom, democracy, prosperity when your record
is so appalling.
You didn't walk away from government.
You never stood up to Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabweans, as much as we would know they would not
forget what they have gone through.
But what they are looking forward to now is a good future.
They are now futuristic.
They judge people on their record. They judge...
In the past you've tried to say you didn't even know
that the Gukurahundi killings were happening.
Are you now prepared to say that is not true?
You certainly knew, you just did nothing about it.
You know, when they ask me about it, because I said by association
I was in government, but when you say when it was being
planned, no planning and by association is totally different.
With all respect, Mrs Mujuru, your husband Solomon Mujuru was one
of the most senior commanders in the Armed Forces.
So you obviously knew what was going on.
What I know about Solomon Mujuru and the Fifth Brigade was not part
of the Armed Forces.
It was a brigade that was commended outside the Army.
He only was involved when this was to be integrated into the Army.
That's what I knew. He knew and you knew.
That's the bottom line.
And the Zimbabwean people have to judge you for what you did.
Yes, they will judge.
They will judge somebody for what she or he will have done physically.
They will judge.
They will judge, I think, a person's ethics and morals.
Let's talk about different challenges you faced in government.
2005, the Mugabe government's decision to clean out
many of the poor people living in an official housing
in urban areas.
Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people rendered homeless.
Many killed as well.
You knew about that too.
What did you do about that?
There are a lot of things that I did not agree with.
A lot of things that I did not go along with.
You've described Robert Mugabe as a father figure.
You have said that you felt he was grooming you to be the next
president of Zimbabwe.
So, you clearly were very happy to be part of a regime
that was undertaking this sort of policy.
It was the situation then when I was working with him.
And I wanted to show that things can change.
Even if they are not right.
Things were only changing for the worse as far as I can see.
Today we can give an example of Tanzania.
Today we can give an example of China.
The thing is we don't need to look at other examples.
We can look at what happened.
Because what I wanted to do was to change things from within.
But it never happened.
And I will tell you, with the programmes that I was doing
and which I was never given a chance to do that,
but I can tell you a few that I did which may be angered them and hence
they labelled me a liberal.
I'm just trying to get to grips with your relationship
with Robert Mugabe.
You told the South African Broadcasting Corporation just
a month or two ago, you said that you still have respect
for Robert Mugabe, and that you, and this is something that you said
to them, that you are prepared to forgive him for things
he has done.
to Robert Mugabe.
You're not a victim.
You're somebody who benefited from Robert Mugabe's policies.
You were one of his most trusted ministers.
I will tell you.
My party is not for retribution. We are for restitution.
So, what we are trying to do is how best we can move forward.
We're not going to ask them to forget.
But we are going to ask them to look for a way how Zimbabwe
can move forward.
Because, if we continue to live in the past it means
will make another move.
Do you believe in justice? I do.
Do you believe that all of those Zimbabweans who have suffered
at the hands of the Mugabe regime, for all of the different policies,
some of which I've just outlined, should they be justice?
I've already started that. You won't believe me.
I've been to Matabele more than seven times as from the end
of last year and this year trying to show them that,
you know what, when we are in this situation it doesn't mean you agree
with everything, it doesn't mean you know everything.
But this is how you can judge me now as Joice Mujuru with her party,
National People's Party.
The thing is in Matabeleland they don't believe you, do they?
Activist Israel Dube, who is a leading campaigner
for Matabeleland, writes, he said this of your attempt
to reach out to his people.
He said, "The people here will not be fooled.
How can a Zanu PF top official, the wife of one of the most
high-ranking national army commanders claim that she didn't
know what happened to my people?
She must have been blind or deaf, or both.
She is bound by collective responsibility."
Let me tell you.
By collective responsibility, yes, because I was in government.
But I've been to Matabeleland, I've also met activists,
and we have been talking and they have been asking questions
and I've been meeting chiefs.
You know, the reason why I'm this bold to go and meet these chiefs,
it means a heart in its correct place.
You say you...
If I had my own way I would have done it differently.
But now that I've got my own party to tell you the truth,
I'm very happy to meet those people.
I'm very happy to tell them that not everything that people in government
might have taken a role, physical role, but they will be
with association, yes, like me.
We'll get to your new party later. Yes.
But let's stick with the idea of justice.
Do you think that those who profited, profited to a massive
extent from corrupt practices during the Mugabe years,
they should be held to account, shouldn't they?
We know corruption has done a lot of damage to the economy
and corruption is the worst thing, it's the enemy of what is existing
in Zimbabwe today.
So are you prepared now to confess? Oh, yes.
To your own corrupt behaviours. Because, I haven't...
If I was corrupt with all what I've gone through people should have
taken me in to court.
In the interests of transparency then, let's just establish
a few facts.
How much are you worth? I only have a house.
I only run on a farm, a farm which I'm still now
negotiating with the owner.
And to tell you the truth I'm very free to take everything down
and Zimbabwe will know who I am because I'm not a rich person.
You don't mention diamond mines.
We know for a fact your husband Solomon Mujuru.
He owned vast diamond mining interests.
We know from various scandals, frankly, involving your daughter
and allegations against you personally that hundreds
of thousands of dollars' worth of diamonds and gold,
un-certificated, were presented to European dealers on your behalf.
Now, I just wonder where you got the diamonds and the gold from.
Do you think if I had all that richness I would be
suffering this much?
Do you think since Mujuru died six years ago and they have now gone
trust his estate they wouldn't have said something about how rich he is?
Well, it's not just about your husband.
Knowing Zimbabwe government... Human Rights Watch...
Knowing Zimbabwe... Hang on.
Let's just lay the facts on the table.
Human Rights Watch 2009 wrote a report where they interviewed
a number of miners in one of Zimbabwe's biggest minefields.
They said to Human Rights Watch, "We named a portion of the diamond
fields after Mrs Mujuru, they called it Mujuru's ant hill
because on several nights trucks would go there and we were told
by the police that the portion there belongs to the Vice President,
If you go through the Cabinet if you had a chance it came
to the Cabinet and because next to Chiadzwa I was running
a community programme, which was producing horticultural
produce which was being sold here in London.
These weren't gardeners. No.
These were diamond mines. No, no, no, no.
And the part of the mine that they worked on was known
as Mrs Mujuru's ant hill.
I'm telling you the joke...
I'm telling you the joke about the ant hill.
It's a joke, because after they had heard that I had that they went
to investigate as a Cabinet team, which was set by the whole Cabinet,
and they discovered that it was a joke.
Because these people never saw me there.
I've never been a miner.
I've never owned any thing in terms of business.
So they said no, no, no, these were jokes that
were going through between the two communities because
they stay side-by-side.
And they were saying, though, you changed our life
through the horticultural project in the Cashel Valley.
Well, it's interesting you focus on horticulture.
The record focuses on diamond and on gold.
Yes, that's why...
There's a company called First Star Europe.
Are you aware of them? No!
I've never been involved in any thing to do with diamonds.
Well, clearly you must be aware of First Star Europe because they...
I heard about it because I've never seen people coming to talk
to me about it.
They were approached by your daughter.
They were approached about a massive deal in gold.
It turned out to be Congolese gold. But why is it...?
The company discovered that you were behind
many of the transactions.
And they refused to deal with your daughter or with
you because you were on a sanctions list.
You know all of this. No, no, no, no.
I'm telling you, these are rumours. These are social media talks.
If I was involved...
We have on the records statements from this company First Star saying
that they discovered that you were behind the deal,
they wanted nothing more to do with it and they put
you and your daughter on a blacklist.
That's not a social media rumour.
I'm telling you because I'm not involved.
I wasn't involved.
If I was involved, how would I beat this much free from such
a terrible incident?
I suppose the people who will judge this other people
of Zimbabwe, aren't they?
Yes, they will.
They know who I am.
I've nothing to hide.
And they know where you live. Yes.
You live on Alamein Farm. Oh, yeah, Alamein Farm.
3500 hectares. Number 4 Springfield Road.
That, of course, was owned by a white farmer.
Yes, who is a friend of mine.
Guy Watson-Smith. Yes.
Well, you say he is a friend of yours.
He's been seeking compensation from you.
You have not yet paid him.
I will show you the e-mails, including this morning's e-mail.
I'm on an e-mail basis with Guy Watson.
Yes, because he wants his money.
But I looked for him.
He never, he never looked for me.
You have said on the record... I looked for him...
It wasn't fair, you said. Yes.
I want to give him what is due to him.
How much have you given him?
Not yet because the programme is still...
Not yet? Yes.
Because I didn't give the date.
I didn't do anything.
But what we agreed was this thing was supposed
to be done according to the laws of Zimbabwe.
He is owed for all of the assets. Yes.
Not the land itself but the movable assets.
He's owed, as I understand it, over $1.5 million.
When are you going to pay him?
That is between me and Guy Watson, because we are discussing as to how
that should be handled.
This issue of putting it on air is the one that
is being abused by the people in the media, because they know
that once we say that, and if there is any
glitch or hitch, and then they will come back to both of them and say,
why is it that you haven't been paid?
It's because I don't have cash at the moment.
You don't have cash? No, no, no.
I don't have cash. Well...
But what we do have is the arrangement that we have to organise
the two of us, and we are in agreement as to how things have to
So, let us be clear then. Yes.
When you say it wasn't fair the way you acquired the land,
are you saying that the entire confiscation programme run by the
Mugabe government, which let's remind ourselves, you were a very
senior minister of, going back to 2000 when the confiscation
white farmland began, you're saying that was entirely wrong, are you?
Because I never even took a farm for myself.
That was through inheritance the way how I got Gaya's farm.
How many farms do you own?
Your family. Your family.
My family? Yes.
As Mujuru family? Yes.
Just that one. Just that one?
You know, I lost two farms in Shamba.
I got Alamein Farm through inheritance.
See, many of the families at the top of Zanu PF own
a multiple farms.
I have never acquired a farm.
I got Alamein Farm through inheritance.
Are you saying...?
And the family lost two farms which they had.
You see, you're running for office. Yes.
I think you want to run ultimately for President.
So, are you saying to the people of Zimbabwe
that if you win power you will either return the land to their
original owners, or you will offer
fair compensation to every white farmer?
Is that what you're saying?
Yes, fair compensation.
There is a law to that.
We are for constitutionalism, the constitution has to be followed
and we know personal rights, you know, rights, have to be
respected so property rights have to be respected.
We don't want to take things for granted.
Because it's hard for somebody to come up with something
for the family.
What about the indigenisation programme?
We've talked earlier about the failings, the disastrous
state of the Zimbabwean economy.
One of the things which makes it very difficult for foreign direct
investment to come into your country are now the rules
on what's called indigenisation.
Would you roll all of those back too?
That we have already spoken about it.
As the party that we are going to repeal it.
We are going to repeal it because we are for investment.
We want investors, both local and international to come and help
us as we are rebuilding our economy.
You see, I'm still struggling on this.
Everything you said suggests to me that on every policy issue,
every strategy, every human rights abuse, you post,
albeit privately, everything that Robert Mugabe did.
But there you sat by his side as his deputy and Vice President
from 2004 to 2014.
It doesn't mean I agreed with him.
It doesn't mean I agreed with him.
But it gets even more dysfunctional because in 2011 your husband
Solomon Mujuru, who we have talked about, he was burned to death
at the farm that we've just discussed.
Now, he, according to many people in Zimbabwe, didn't die by accident,
he was murdered.
You say you believe he was murdered by people connected to the Mugabe
regime, and yet for three more years you still served as Vice President.
How could you?
I am telling you, I fought in that party.
I wanted to change from within.
If you follow issues and programmes that I did I thought
I was going to win.
That's why nine out of ten provinces had decided to do what they thought
was right and chose the leadership that they wanted, which Mugabe
did not like and that leadership was in support of me.
How could you, just a few months ago, describe Robert Mugabe
as a father figure when you seem to believe that people close to him
are responsible for the murder of your husband?
He appeared to be a father figure to me.
And that I should not run away from.
Because during this trouble these were people who were giving
leadership to everyone who was in this trouble.
And, mind you, according to our custom these other respects
that we give to our seniors.
It calls into question your judgment.
Everything we've discussed.
It is hard to understand how your political career makes any
sense at all.
If you have morals, ethics, principles it's very hard
to understand anything you have done.
The issue is you have never been to Zimbabwe.
The issue is you have never seen what personally I have done
for the country of Zimbabwe.
The issue is you have never come to Zimbabwe to interview
for yourself those people to say, how do you take Joice as a person?
Well, actually I have been to Zimbabwe and I have
reported from Zimbabwe.
You have not... You have not...
You have been...
So I think I have a little bit of an idea how Zimbabwe
and politics works.
We don't have much time.
Let's get to the future.
You have been there but you have not asked about me.
Well, I have, actually.
Yes, I have. No.
Let's talk about the future.
You've laid out and discussed your record You seem to believe that
as a record that will appeal to the people of Zimbabwe.
You set up a party, Zimbabwe People First,
and within a year of setting it up there was infighting,
there was division and the party has collapsed with some of its senior
figures, including a former minister, Didymus Mutasa,
accusing you of being dictatorial and expelling
you from your own party.
It wasn't... We expelled them...
Because right now, ask who has the people.
Who formed National People's Party?
Where have they come from?
Half of them have been people who have never been in politics
and if they didn't want to be boggled down by things of the past.
And the other half is comprised of people who have come from other
parties to form National People's Party.
The people you set up this party with now say you are impossible
to work with.
You've changed the name of your own
party to the National People's Party.
Are you prepared to work with perhaps the best-known
opposition figure in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, as a joint ticket
to run for President against Mugabe if he runs in 2018,
you will run with Tsvangirai, will you?
Excellent, because we've already started talking about coalition.
And who will take the ticket?
Who will actually run for President, you or Tsvangirai, under
this coalition agreement?
It's part of the process that we are carrying on right now,
which I can't say who is who because it's part of the results
that we're going to come up with.
But between Morgan and myself, we are working together very well.
We have done a few, you know, addresses together,
a few demonstrations together.
And right now we are actually working on a road map,
MoU, so that we are able to work together.
Would you accept Morgan Tsvangirai being the head, the leader,
the figurehead of this movement and being the candidate
for President in 2018?
Anyone who is chosen according to our discussion I will be able
to work with.
The former finance minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe
is an unstable, fragile state that is on the verge of implosion.
Would you agree with that?
That is his analysis.
You know Biti has been a minister of finance.
And he understands. Yes.
What has been going on.
The mess that has been made of your country over the last,
let's say 20 years, at least.
He would tell you exactly what happened during his time
of office as Minister of Finance.
He would be the better person because if I tell you myself
you might say you are singing your former party's song.
But ask some of those people whom I was working
with, including Tendai.
In a word, you oversaw the collapse of Zimbabwe.
Do you really think you're the right person
to oversee its revitalisation?
Yes, because I know how to change.
I know how to involve people who matter and these other people
who have come to work with me.
All right, Joice Mujuru, thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for being on HARDtalk. Thank you.
Thank you. My pleasure.
We've got a lot of largely dry and pretty mild weather on the cards
for much of the week ahead.
But, with clear skies Sunday night, Monday morning starts on quite
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?