ZimbabweHuchi Uncategorized Joice Mujuru Biography: Early Life | Liberation War | Political Career | Vice Presidency | Expulsion | Personal life

Joice Mujuru Biography: Early Life | Liberation War | Political Career | Vice Presidency | Expulsion | Personal life

Joice Mujuru Biography: Early Life | Liberation War | Political Career | Vice Presidency | Expulsion | Personal life post thumbnail image

This is the biography of former Vice President of Zimbabwe Joice Mujuru.

Early Life and Guerrilla Training

Born on April 15, 1955, in Mount Darwin, Zimbabwe, Joice Teurairopa Runaida Mujuru, known for her significant role in the nation’s history, was part of the Korekore language group. She pursued her education at Howard High, a Salvation Army mission school located in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central Province.

At the age of eighteen, Mujuru distinguished herself as the only woman undergoing training in Lusaka. Her participation in the Rhodesian Bush War marked her as a formidable fighter. In a noteworthy incident on February 17, 1974, she allegedly brought down a helicopter with a machine gun, refusing to retreat despite the danger. This account, however, has been debated by experts who question the plausibility of such an act with light weaponry.

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Joice Mujuru biography-Image Source@Zimprofiles

Rising through the Ranks

By 1975, Mujuru had ascended to the position of political instructor at two thriving military bases. At twenty-one, she became the camp commander at the Chimoio military and refugee camp in Mozambique. Adopting the name “Teurai Ropa Nhongo,” she showcased steadfast dedication to the liberation effort. Her leadership and determination placed her among the first female commanders in Mugabe’s ZANLA forces.

Political Career

Mujuru’s seamless shift from the battlefield to politics saw her take on various roles in the government:

  • Minister of Youth, Sport, and Recreation (1980–1985): At 25, Mujuru became the youngest cabinet minister, managing youth affairs, sports, and recreational activities.
  • Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (1985–1988): In this role, she contributed significantly to the administration’s decision-making processes.
  • Minister of Community Development, Cooperatives, and Women’s Affairs (1988–1992): Mujuru played a key role in advancing community development and women’s empowerment.
  • Resident Minister and Governor for Mashonaland Central (1992–1996): She oversaw administrative matters in the Mashonaland Central Province.

During her time as Minister of Telecommunications, Mujuru took steps to obstruct Strive Masiyiwa’s efforts to launch his independent cellphone network, Econet. Masiyiwa faced pressure from the cabinet to sell his imported equipment to competitors. On March 24, 1997, Mujuru awarded Zimbabwe’s second cellular telephone license to the previously unknown Zairois consortium, Telecel, excluding Masiyiwa. The consortium included her husband, Solomon, and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Leo. Despite legal challenges, Masiyiwa eventually secured his license in December 1997.

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Joice Mujuru-Image Source@Zimprofiles

Vice Presidency

Joice Mujuru served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 2004 to 2014. Her influence extended to ZANU–PF, where she also held the position of Deputy Secretary. Her marriage to Solomon Mujuru, a key figure in Zimbabwean politics, further bolstered her standing. Many viewed her as a potential successor to President Robert Mugabe.

In 2014, Mujuru was accused of plotting against Mugabe, which tarnished her reputation. As a result, she lost both her Vice-Presidential post and her position in the party leadership. Subsequently, she was expelled from ZANU–PF. Unfazed, she established the Zimbabwe People First Party and later the National People’s Party, seeking to continue her political career independently. However, the party did not fare well in the 2018 elections, leading to her retirement from politics.

Personal Life

In September 1977, Joice Mujuru married the late General Solomon Mujuru (formerly Rex Nhongo), a pivotal figure in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. Solomon Mujuru died on August 15, 2011, in a house fire at his farm. Together, Joice and Solomon had four daughters: Priscilla Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru (born 1978), Nyasha Del Campo, Kuzivakwashe Mujuru, and Chipo Makoni.

References

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