Joice Mujuru (born 15 April 1955 as Runaida Mugari) is a Zimbabwean politician who has served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe since December 2004. Previously she served as a government minister for years, beginning at independence in 1980. She is also Vice-President of ZANU-PF. She was married to Solomon Mujuru until his death in 2011 and is considered a potential successor to President Robert Mugabe.
Mujuru was born in Zimbabwe's northeastern district of Mt. Darwin, a Shona from the Korekore language group . As a Shona (a conglomeration of various tribes with a common sounding Bantu language) she is of the same language group as Vice-President Joseph Msika and President Robert Mugabe as well as political rivals Morgan Tsvangirai and Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, they come from different tribal groups with Mugabe being Zezuru and Mngangagwa and Tsvangirai being Karanga. After completing two years of secondary education, she decided to join the Rhodesian Bush War. She is said to have downed a helicopter with a machine gun on 17 February 1974 after refusing to flee.
- "Incredibly, I hit the machine and there was a lot of black smoke and it crashed. A big explosion followed," she was quoted as saying of the incident in which all the occupants of the helicopter perished.
She took the nom-de-guerre Teurai Ropa (spill blood), and then rose to become one of the first women commanders in Mugabe's ZANLA forces. In 1977 she married Solomon Mujuru, known then as Rex Nhongo, deputy commander-in-chief of ZANLA.
Upon return from the war, little was known of the origins of her name and her real name. Her mother, in an interview for The Sunday Mail newspaper at her rural Mount Darwin home, spoke exclusively to journalist and media anthropologist Robert Mukondiwa, to whom she revealed that Joice was a name she had also adopted during her time away at the war. Her actual name, he was told, was Runaida, which had been her late paternal aunt's name.
The Mujurus now live on a 3,500-acre (14 km2) requisitioned farm, Alamein Farm, 45 miles (72 km) south of Harare, which has been found by the Supreme Court in Zimbabwe to have been illegally seized from the farm owner.
At independence in 1980, Mujuru became the youngest cabinet minister in Mugabe's cabinet, taking the portfolio of sports, youth and recreation. She fitted secondary school in between her busy schedule after she was appointed minister.
As minister of telecommunications, she tried to stop Strive Masiyiwa from establishing his independent cellphone network Econet. Masiyiwa had been given an ultimatum by the cabinet to sell his imported equipment to his rivals. On 24 March 1997, Mujuru decided to issue Zimbabwe's second cellular telephone licence to the previously unknown Zairois consortium Telecel, cutting out Masiyiwa. The Zairois consortium included her husband Solomon and President Robert Mugabe's nephew Leo. After many legal fights, Masiyiwa won his licence in December 1997.
The ZANU-PF Women's League resolved at its annual conference held in September 2004 to put forward a female candidate for the party's vice-presidency, a position left vacant following the death of Simon Muzenda.
Mugabe bowed to pressure from a ZANU-PF faction led by Mujuru's husband, General Solomon Mujuru, to give a woman the second vice-presidency post—effectively sidelining speaker of parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, widely seen as his favoured heir. This Zanu-PF reshuffle was dubbed "the night of the long knives" by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Mujuru was sworn in as Vice-President of Zimbabwe on 6 December 2004.
Mujuru was nominated as ZANU-PF's candidate for the House of Assembly seat from Mt. Darwin West in the March 2008 parliamentary election. According to official results she won the seat by an overwhelming margin, receiving 13,236 votes against 1,792 for Gora Madzudzo, the candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai. This ran contrary to earlier claims from the MDC that Mujuru had lost the seat. After the election, she was again sworn in as Vice-President by Mugabe on 13 October 2008, together with Msika.
She is the subject of personal sanctions imposed by the United States.
She currently lives on Alamein Farm, a productive and high-value operation illegally requisitioned as part of a "landgrab" from Guy Watson-Smith in 2001, as found by the Zimbabwe High Court and international courts. In 2001 the Mujuru family became the subject of the first legal action against any member of Mr Mugabe's inner circle implicated in the illegal seizure of land and assets.
Zimbabwe 'illegal gold sale bid'
Joice Mujuru has been implicated in the attempted sale of up to 3.5 tonnes of gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a European company, in contravention of European Union sanctions on the part of that company.
- "Salvation Army ‘causing humanitarian disaster’ in Zim". The Zimbabwean. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Nhongo (née Mugari), Joyce (1955–)". The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. New York: Continuum. 1985. p. 342. ISBN 0-8264-0192-9.
- "Profile: The Mujuru couple". BBC. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Zim government leaves out cellphone pioneer ZA*NOW
- How a man called Strive beat off the corrupt cronies Business Times
- "Mugabe moves against party rivals". BBC. 1 December 2004. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "ZIMBABWE: Mujuru sworn in as vice president", IRIN, 6 December 2004.
- "Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Names Poll Candidates", The Herald (allAfrica.com), 15 February 2008.
- Mutongi Gava, "VP Mujuru not defeated", newzimbabwe.com, 31 March 2008.
- "Zimbabwe President Mugabe swears in vice presidents", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 14 October 2008.
- US Personal Sanctions ZWNews
- "Farm owner given minutes to leave his Farm" , Evening Standard (London), 10 February 2003
- " Evicted farmer sues for return of £2m assets", The Telegraph, 24 December 2001
- " Britain must act on Zimbabwe", Evening Standard (London), 25 January 2002
- "Zimbabwe 'illegal gold sale bid'". BBC. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
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