Zimbabwe’s Fired Deputy Mujuru Says Mugabe Party Ignoring Crisis

Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s former vice president who was expelled from the ruling party this month, said the leadership of the organization that’s ruled the nation since independence in 1980 is ignoring an economic crisis.

The size of the economy has halved since President Robert Mugabe started a program of seizing white-owned commercial farms in 2000, slashing export income. Wages for government workers now account for about 88 percent of the budget, according to the finance ministry, while foreign investment is being deterred by a law that says black Zimbabweans are entitled to a stake of as much as 51 percent in any company.

“Given the prevailing economic hardships, the looming food crisis and declining inflows to the fiscus, the Politburo’s silence on these matters is deafening,” Mujuru told reporters in the capital, Harare, Thursday, referring to the decision-making body of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Mujuru, who served in Mugabe’s first cabinet and became vice president in 2004, was stripped of her position in government in December when she was accused of trying to unseat Mugabe. She denied the allegations and said on Thursday that she refused to accept her expulsion from the party.

The 59-year-old fought in the liberation war against a whites-only government prior to 1980 and is the widow of Solomon Mujuru, who led Mugabe’s liberation forces and later commanded the Zimbabwean army.

Mugabe’s administration is waging a “relentless, unsubstantiated, malicious and hateful campaign” against her, she said.

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