Joyce Mujuru Runaida Mugari, AfroAmerica Network Black Woman of the Year 2004.


She is the new Vice-President of Zimbabwe  as of December 4, 2004.

Her Name is Joyce Mujuru Chimurenga, war code named Teurai Ropa, one of the most senior Zimbabwean liberation fighters. She is renowned for her bravery. This small, but energetic woman of barely 5 feet tall was a specialist of firing rockets, mortars, and heavy weapons.

She was born in 1955, in Dotito and was initially named Runaida Mugari. Joyce Mujuru went to Zambia and then Mozambique to Zhunla Camp, Vila Pery where Robert Mugabe arrived with Edgar Tekere, Nyadzonya, and finally Chimoio where she was camp commander.

There she met and married  the now retired General Solomon Mujuru, still extremely influential within both ZANU PF and the army. It is alleged that the couple have now separated for political reasons, but not yet divorced.

She has served the ZANU-PF party faithfully, both as a party activist and as a government minister. At various times in her career, she was entrusted with several positions:


Ř      Vice President of Zimbabwe (Dec. 04 2004 - )

Ř      Minister of Rural Resources & Water Development (1997 - 2004)

Ř      Minister of Information, Post and Telecommunication (1996 - 1997)

Ř      Resident Minister and Governor  of  Mashonaland Central (1992 - 1996)

Ř      Minister of Community Development, Cooperatives and Women' Affairs (1988 - 1992)

Ř      Minister of State by the Prime Minister (1985 - 1988)

Ř      Minister of Community Development and Women's Affairs (1980 - 1985)

As one of the 2 Vice-Presidents under the President of  Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe who is at the same time the first secretary and President of the ZANU-PF party,  she took the post left vacant following the death of Simon Muzenda. The other Vice President is Joseph Msika.

In 2000, she was elected Member of Parliament of a new constituency, Mt Darwin North. It is believed this constituency was created for her when Saviour Kasukuwere took Mt Darwin South.

She was elected ZANU Secretary for Women's Affairs in 1977 in Mozambique, joined in 1979 by Sally Mugabe as Deputy and Julia Zvobgo as secretary for administration.

She has been a member of government since the independence of Zimbabwe from Britain in 1980, initially as Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation. As the Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development she had to fight off several accusations of corruption and mismanagement including the VIP borehole-drilling scandal, tillage program, tractor scandal, Chinese loans and many others.

During the battle to give a license to cellular telephone companies in the late 90's, she overturned Acting President Joshua Nkomo's instruction to grant a license to Econet Wireless but her decision itself later overturned. It is alleged she insulted the late Joshua Nkomo publicly by describing him as “senile” over the granting of the license to Econet Wireless. She was rebuked and accepted with remarkable humility the sanction for that remarkable lapse in party protocol.


She has served the ZANU-PF party and the Zimbabwean people faithfully since struggle for independence, both as a party activist and as a government minister. Mujuru advocates advancement of women to be strictly on merit, with no special concessions made because of gender.   She shies away from raging feminism with the standard excuse that men needed women as much as women needed men. Mujuru is a team player and a fine compromiser. She always put the unity of the party above her personal ambitions, except for the wrong reason: insulting the late Joshua Nkomo publicly by describing him as “senile” over the granting of a licence to Econet Wireless. If she was rebuked for that remarkable lapse in party protocol, not many can remember the occasion or her exact words. The fact that Nkomo triumphed, in the end, is neither here nor there.

What is probably of political significance is that Joyce Mujuru showed she had impeccably enduring political credentials and is one of the very few woman in high positions, already positioned to replace the Zimbabwe independence father, Robert Mugabe, when his last term expires in year 2006. When she does, she will become the first Black woman President in the World, in the first female president in Africa when countries like the United States, France, and Germany do not even contemplate yet a woman as the head of the government.


©AfroAmerica Network,  December 2004.
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