TWO weeks ago, the Mujuru family commemorated the second anniversary of the death of General Solomon Mujuru (Retired) at his Ruzambu Farm in Beatrice. Various activities were lined up for the day, including entertainment and other family events. Below are excerpts of an interview with Vice-President Mujuru on the sidelines of the memorial.
Question: Can you describe your relationship with the late General given that you are both decorated liberation fighters? It is evident that you miss him dearly.
Vice-President Mujuru: That is very common, especially if you have lost such an important member of the family. He was the head of the family, the father and, mind you, when you get to our age, when you are over 30 years in marriage (we reached almost 34 years in marriage) you are no longer husband and wife as such, but more like close friends.
There is a moment whereby you start sharing jokes, stories that some of us might call “gossips”, and those are the stories that will cheer you up when you are down and so on. You get to a point whereby you no longer feel jealous even when he does not come home on time. You start asking yourself: “Has he had an accident?”
If you phone him, it is not because he has a girlfriend, but you just get worried. Is he going to come home safe? . . . something like that. You are now like one person.
You are friends that can share every moment of it and so, surely, I miss him a lot, and looking at his grandchildren, you can see the majority of those I played with at the ground, half of them were his grandchildren and half of them even brought their friends and you won’t believe it. It is like I had adopted them like grandchildren because we were like that, he was like that.
So, we do miss him because he would have gone a step further in doing certain things. Right now, I have gone out of my way to buy drinks, to buy beer, to brew beer and so on so that his friends, those he used to drink with, can share a bottle and still remember those moments when they used to drink together.
Question: Do you sometimes wonder what Zanu-PF’s resounding victory would have meant to General Mujuru?
Vice-President Mujuru: If he were still alive, I am sure he was going to be the most grateful, especially to the majority of Zimbabweans, those who did not actually witness the activities of the real war. He was going to really advise us in the Government as to how we should be able to do certain things in order to show our gratitude to the nation.
You know, my husband having been the last born of a family of seven, he ended up being a person who wanted to see the less-privileged recognised, given love.
Coming from a humble beginning, and if you would ask those who came to his funeral, you would hear they were from Mbare, street kids, and there were people he used to share a meal with by the roadside and I mean the road construction workers, those that used to see him giving a hand, and if not they had a common thing.
I know with what has happened, the peace, the commitment and I am sure the understanding that is now coming back to the majority of Zimbabweans, I am sure this was going to give him a lot of confidence in the future of our party, Zanu-PF, and to also warn us that we should not think about ourselves as individuals when we are working for the Government or when we are working for the people, but that we should work and improve the lives of the people.
Question: What lessons did you learn from being together for almost 34 years?
Vice-President Mujuru: The good thing is that the General never worked in politics or the goings-on in Zanu-PF as an isolated person and even for my political career, it was not the General himself or the General alone who assisted me, but I still have the likes of His Excellency, the President himself, who actually nurtured me from the days when I was 20.
Before I met Mujuru as a husband, I met him as a soldier. He is the one who actually told me how the future should be worked for, and how I had already done something for myself because when I met him, I had already operated in the front and he was very much interested in understanding what had gone wrong in young girls’ minds to leave families and work with people you do not know and the girl children were well protected.
You were never allowed to leave your family and with him, President Mugabe is a jealous father, and he used to tell me, “You must behave yourself, you must have a good future. Your foundation is very good and you must be able to strive for greater heights.” The words that he gave me in the early days when I met him really gave me encouragement.
So, losing my husband, yes, as a friend, as my children’s father and as someone I used to discuss with matters of politics, but I still have a lot of people who are still
supporting me; a lot of war veterans and a lot of peers I have met now and after independence.