Statuses on social media platform, WhatsApp appear to have become a medium of emotional expression.
By Everson Mushava
In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp statuses have largely been used to mirror one’s — happiness, sorrow, hope, despair or grief.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s WhatsApp status is no exception. Following her recent summary expulsion from Zanu PF where she had deputised President Robert Mugabe in both party and government, her platform is a must watch for those keen to read into her mind.
After her ejection, Mujuru remained stone quiet, refusing to say what was on her mind, with only her trusted lieutenants’, former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and ousted secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa hinting a week later on the possibility of them forming a new party, to go by the name “People First”.
Mujuru’s silence kept the nation guessing on her next move following the end of her romance with Zanu PF. She joined Zanu PF in 1973 at the height of the liberation struggle when she abandoned school after completing her Zimbabwe Junior Certificate level at Howard Institute.
Only her WhatsApp status offered a glimpse of what could have been going on in her mind: “I will no longer allow negative things in my life to spoil all the good things I have. I choose to be happy,” it read. The status however could be confusing if it were to be interpreted in the context of her on going tribulations in Zanu PF.
Could Mujuru be implying that she is now taking a rest from politics after serving the ruling party for more than four decades, and thus happily retiring and putting behind her the sad end to her political career?
Or could it mean that Mujuru is welcoming her expulsion and is gearing to start a new political life?
Debate has been raging on whether Mujuru’s expulsion from Zanu PF could mean the end of her political career, or if she will “resurrect” in or outside Zanu PF.
When she finally spoke last week, Mujuru was defiant, saying no one would expel her from the “original” Zanu PF, a statement that was loaded. Could this mean that she would be readmitted into Zanu PF?
Most analysts however said Mujuru’s hopes of leading Zimbabwe have been dealt a fatal blow by her expulsion as she can no longer be nominated to lead the party in the event that Mugabe is incapacitated.
With Mugabe failing to restore the country’s free falling economy, and his party experiencing serious infighting and ever declining approval ratings, some observers view Mujuru’s expulsion as a perfect opportunity for the late General Solomon Mujuru’s wife to make a surprise political comeback.
They said she no longer had any excuse not to form her own political party and use it as a springboard to rise to the country’s presidency, riding on the public sympathy she enjoyed. Other people said they thought her sober approach to politics was what Zimbabwe needed.
Many analysts said they felt it was too early to write Mujuru off politically.
“We cannot say that in politics,” media and democracy scholar Pedzisai Ruhanya said.
Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said: “She has a right to state that she wants to be happy beyond whatever she considers to be ‘bad things’. Her political options are a bit more tenuous and are reliant upon her deciding whether she would like to pursue a political career outside of the Zanu PF that expelled her.”
He added: “And this I am sure is not an easy decision for her because it entails being an opposition party leader against her former comrades. She currently has the advantage of people being curious as to what she will do next. But even that curiosity and potential support will be short-lived if she does not make her own political intentions clear.”
So could her expulsion be a blessing in disguise? Sometimes decisions that are made with the intent to fix someone end up propping them up, another analyst opined.
But Zhangazha said: “Unless she publicly announces that she has no interest in pursuing a political career, she is always going to have the tag of being a political option to the current ruling and opposition political leadership.”
Mujuru has not come out open on whether she indeed is the leader of the “People First party.”