War vets remain defiant

HARARE - The succession wars ravaging Zanu PF are getting more intractable by the day, with war veterans rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying defiantly yesterday that they were not losing any sleep over President Robert Mugabe’s ominous warning to them last week.

The disaffected former freedom fighters, who are forcefully agitating for Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe, also told the Daily News that they were “not afraid of anyone” — adding that it was allegedly clear that those opposed to Mnangagwa were feeding the increasingly frail Mugabe with lies.

This followed Mugabe’s stark warning to the war veterans on Friday last week, when the angry nonagenarian warned that he would deal with them severely if they continued to try and impose on Zanu PF his successor.

Amid the bloodletting, a respected South Africa-based think-tank has also moved to claim that despite his furious protestations, Mugabe was not in any position to stop the ex-combatants from either voicing or working to anoint his successor.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, told the Daily News yesterday that former freedom fighters had done nothing wrong to make them fearful of anyone or anything.

“We do not fear anything. Kusungwa unosungwa kana pane mhosva. Mutongi ndiye anoziva kuti pane mhosva here kana kuti kwete. Nyaya iripo ndeyekuti pakataurwa nhema (One can only be arrested if one has committed an offence. Only judiciary officers can determine if one has committed an offence. The problem is there is that some people are spreading lies about us).

“At five of our rallies, Black Jesus (a prominent war veteran) said ... Mugabe is a life president. Vanhu vakanoreva nhema kuna president (Despite all this our detractors told the president lies).

“They realised that if they told the president the truth, he would not get annoyed. So, they cooked up some documents to anger him,” the straight-talking Matemadanda charged.

Zanu PF has recently been consumed by its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, with the former liberation movement currently split between two main factions — Team Lacoste, which wants Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe, and ambitious young party Turks who are rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather, and who go by the moniker Generation 40 (G40). Matemadanda said Mugabe’s threats that he directed at them last week were “a culmination of the information that he is being fed by the G40” — a group that he once again accused of “pushing a sinister agenda”.

However, he said, war veterans and other “right-minded Zimbabweans” would not lose sleep over “the G40’s schemes”.

“We are not panicking against nyaya dzenhema (lies). We are going to continue fighting the G40. We know that they are pushing a sinister agenda,” he thundered.

He also implored Mugabe “to get the correct information” of what had transpired in their meetings from security agents, instead of getting it from the G40. Matemadanda also dismissed outright claims that deliberations at their hotly-debated Gweru meeting, where the war veterans are said to have endorsed Mnangagwa’s candidature for the presidency, had been recorded.

“Hatityi nhema. Inyaya yavanhu vari kuda kutsvaka kuputsa musangano (We are not afraid of lies because these are the machinations of people who want to destroy Zanu PF). We don’t know anything about that so-called Blue Ocean document that they presented to the president. We never said vaMnangagwa ngavatorere vaMugabe chigaro ivo vari vapenyu (we never said Mnangagwa must take over as president while Mugabe is still alive).

“We never said that. That’s a blue lie,” he said forcefully.

Meanwhile, Cape Town-based think tank, African Economics (NKC), has said in its latest instalment on Zimbabwe that Mugabe’s rant last week was nothing more than “empty threats” as his power within Zanu PF was waning.

“Mugabe’s threats of brutal force against the war vets are empty words. The clear tension between the old freedom fighters and what they see as a party and a president that have lost their way does hold some potential for violence,” it said.

NKC analyst, Gary van Staden, also pointed out that by threatening the ex-combatants, Mugabe was allegedly trying to appease his powerful wife Grace.

“Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association may well regard Mnangagwa as entitled to the presidency by virtue of his current position and old established agreements, as to who would take over, but local sources believe the move was equally a rejection of the ambitions of (Mrs) Mugabe who has already become the voice, if not the power, behind the crumbling throne,” he said.

According to NKC, the recent threats by Mugabe could also invoke violence and serve to further isolate the nonagenarian.

“The tit-for-tat threats and the undercurrents of the succession struggle will continue to reduce the once all-powerful Zanu PF to a shadow of its former self,” the think-tank said, adding that the current in-fighting would work as an advantage to opposition parties going forward.

“Like (Mrs) Mugabe, Mnangagwa is using proxies to fight his battles, but when the dust settles it may well be the opposition parties that steal the prize from under the noses of the current, squabbling ruling party,” it said.

Addressing a Zanu PF central committee meeting in Harare last week, Mugabe shocked his lieutenants when he described recent pronouncements by the ZNLWVA, that Mnangagwa was a shoo-in to take over from him, as tantamount to a rebellion.

“The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association was formed to cater for the welfare of our veterans and not to champion the struggle for political change, not to be the boss of the party and never to be the bully of the party, nor the entity to make the choices of who should be and who should not, never ever. Expect that within the party, always within the party and not outside the party. The dissidents tried it, they were war veterans, and you know what happened.

“Lots of trouble, lots of fighting, lots of suffering of course to our people, and these dissidents activities cannot be allowed. Do we see another rise of dissident activity? The leadership with our experience says no to the war veterans association. It’s not your function, it’s not your business to talk a lot on who shall succeed the president.

“Dissident activities cannot be allowed. It ended in December 1987 when Joshua Nkomo and I put our hands together and our hearts together to say never again shall we allow this to happen,” the visibly-agitated Mugabe said.

The president’s reference to the dark era of the early 1980s when the government unleashed the North Korea-trained 5th brigade that massacred an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands dropped jaws and sent a chill down the spines of most of the gathered Zanu PF bigwigs.

Mugabe was insistent that it was not the responsibility of the ZNLWVA to anoint his successor, but that of Zanu PF.

“I am stunned on what they do. You want to spill the blood again? We say to them that can not be allowed and steps are going to be taken (against them).

“It is not proper for any man to use the war veterans association as a platform to attack party top leadership, or seeking to direct party processes in the same direction preferred by some individuals in that same body.

“The mandate of the association does not allow directing party directions. It’s not your function. Yours is to improve the welfare of the war veterans,” Mugabe fumed.

He said the Zanu PF constitution was clear about the issue of succession and that “it remains the bible of all of us. We must respect the rules drawn by the party and organs of the party must be respected”.

Comments (24)

Zimbabwe needs people from all walks of life to come together and face the current problems in oneness. We need to stop corruption, laziness by our ministers, attract more FDIs, empower youths and women with income generating projects, revamp agriculture, revamp the local manufacturing sector, promote consumption of locally made goods, reduce unnecessary exports, loving one another,stopping all forms of political violence and acknowledging that Zimbabwe is a beautiful country that belongs to all

Viona Ngwena - 15 June 2016

Matemadanda's utterances smack of bootlicking the "life president". Why not tell the nation straight up kuti the ageing leader has to be succeeded at all costs? Why hide behind a finger saying hee vanhu vanoreva nhema kuna president? Why lionize and immortalise him? Your utterances smack of cowardice comrade!!! Ngatibudirane pachena nechokwadi sezvachiri. Succession is inevitable. Hakuna zvekunzi munhu anotonga ari mu wheelchair or from the grave. Leadership renewal is the way to go. Recycling deadwood will get us nowhere!

Ray Phiri - 15 June 2016

These war veterans are Mugabe's wives, life president for what? The man has failed and you want to replace one failure with another failure who cant even win an election in his turf where the media like to claim he is the dorn? Anywhere he can be president of your party its your prerogative.

Galore - 15 June 2016

These men are real men of honour.unwavering.Couragiouse men of honour.Voices of reason.Are there real men better than these men of honour.I salute these comrades.struggle is our motto.Stay strong men of honour.

viola gwena - 15 June 2016

Warvets why are you so fearful? speak your mind comrades. I do not believe you mean it when you say - President to rule for life, you want change, so does everyone!

Tyutyu - 15 June 2016

Iwe Ray Phiri hauzivi strategy yaMatemadanda. Kunonzi kuruma uchifuridzira. Rega mhani zvitanhaurane manhenga. Phwedera kure unozadziwa ropa

dick mboko - 15 June 2016

Mnangagwa is behind the arrogance of these so-called war veterans. He is a very big snake; I don't even know why Mugabe appointed him in the first place. Clearly Joyce Mujuru was far much more easier to handle and peaceful than this Mnangagwa thug; even if she was also equally ambitious. Mnangwa must denounce these warvet thugs in public if he wants to be believed. His silence is deafening. He is only prepared to attack those who are openly stating that he wants the throne but is deafeningly silent on those who are campaigning for him, why? Zimbabweans will once again rue the day this man takes over. Forewarned is forearmed!!

Kwakubus'uMambo no Mzilikazi - 15 June 2016

War veterans have to come clear on their issues. Their problem arises from being war veterans frighting from a corner of Zanu PF. They have failed to defend the interests of all Zimbabweans at the expense of Zanu Pf. They have also been used during campains in some cases unleashing untold violence and intimidation on political opponents. Did they not go to war so that Zimbabweans would enjoy peace, love and unity. Above all, war veterans are interefering into succession issues of Zanu Pf as if they are the ones who own Zanu PF. i remember Matemadanda accusing the G40 of holding the president hostage, but in this case war vets seem to be obsessed with power struggles in Zanu PF. My view is that war vets of honour must be apolitical, peace loving, uniting all Zimbabweans and meaningfully contributing towards nation building.War vets must be at the forefront of championing for human rights, equality, denouncing corruption and other social evils , but they only try to be active in Zanu Pf issues. In this way we will call them men and women of honour. as of now they cant qualify for that. May the late CDE REX could have lectured this to them.

Tete Va Viola Ngwena - 15 June 2016

Haa. I have not picked any defiance out of this story.Its more of bootlicking than defiance.

Jackson - 15 June 2016

Yu all seem to have more interest in warvets n zanu than yo parties.its ok.it shows theris nothing in yo o postion parties,.How many by the way,mdc t, mdc99,mdc biti,mangoma,welshman,zapu,mavambo,zpf ,ndonga,uanc,zum,dzinemunhenzva, .did I leave out any?All formed to oust zanu, n all tried bt hey,failed.because of who, warvets.Now I know progresive countries ,big coutries like US ,only 2 political parties,China 4,uk 2south africa 4 bt zim hey .its becoz of money.the love of money supersedes all.Yo leaders are just after money.otherwise why hav somany parties.money.wait for zpf to split into 7.Now zanu since 1963 to this day.

viola gwena - 15 June 2016

I know yu love us.yu look up to us.thats beautifull.I viola ,love yu too,on behalf of warvets,which are many by the way,the pre independence,the moza ,drc, all warvets.We love yu all.And I love Dailynews too.Im allowed to express my love for yu.unlike Newsday that banned me replacing me wth a fake viona.bt its ok.its politics.

viola gwena - 15 June 2016

Somebody told me I left Mthwakazi .I hav heard a out them bt dnt know if they r a political party or basketball team.They wr playing in botswana the other day.So can anything come out of a disoriented,fregmented,divided oppostion?no.its a numbers game.come 2018 we going to see 20 presidential wannabes.

viola gwena - 15 June 2016

both sides seem to be using proxies,some one wants to keep both of them,time shall tell,i appeal to peace loving zimbos to keep praying for the nation ...

Preacher - 15 June 2016

both sides seem to be using proxies,some one wants to keep both of them,time shall tell,i appeal to peace loving zimbos to keep praying for the nation ...

Preacher - 15 June 2016

@Viola Gwena, MDC split from Zanu PF. Zapu split from Zanu PF, Zanu Ndonga from Zanu PF, Mavambo from Zanu PF, ZPF from Zanu PF. I am not sure what you mean by your party did not split from 1963. In a nutshell most of the opposition came from Zanu PF. However, I agree that its now mainly about money. Especially those who are coming back to Zanu PF like Chipangano's Kunaka who found no money in ZPF and was now scavenging for a living.

XG - 16 June 2016

@viola ngwena: I am not an establishment of the News Day, but I am real like you. On the issue of war veterans my view is that they must not dictate the pace of Zanu Pf. War veterans must always be championing ideals of the liberation struggle. I am sorry to say this, war veterans are too scared to talk to the president. They say a lot o words in the private media, especially the daily news, when the president calls them to air their views, they all shy away into their shells. But all in all , I am real, @ viola. @ viona is real. I am here to contribute towards uniting and building Zimbabwe through my constructive ideas.

Viona Ngwena - 16 June 2016

VaMugabe tinokumbirs kuti michisiya zvehupresident,machembera,siyiraiwo vana vadiki,nei musingade kubva pachigaro,hushe madzoro,makutombowa manje,mawar vets u are not serous sei muchida leader who at 92 is week and frail.what does he bring to the party only confusion and looting nxaa people nagtionei zvekuita pamaelections are 2018 to remove this old man from power.

uth maitano - 16 June 2016

@XG. At the end of it its zanu thats in gorvenment.its one,not 2 in government.Those that left zanu to form political parties are just money hunters.thats why they culdnt make it outside zanu.bt my question is ,why so many parties of opposition.A good politician shuld seek to stand for pple nt self esteem n money.All these party heads are just after money.Money can cause them to abandone the cause n do anything.Look at biti n mangoma.are they in this for pple?no cash.Why cant leaders leave a party n join an already existing party?where ther is structures n pace.why form yo own ,wthout even supporters hoping to get from other parties.what will be the motive.mujuru,makoni,welshman,dabengwa,biti ,mangoma, what is it they think they have that is not in morgan n mdc,.what ideology thats different if its all to remove zanu?MONEY.

viola gwena - 16 June 2016

After Mugabe we expect another good leader who will keep the party going ,stronger n improve on it.President Mugabe did what he did n zanu is still there ,since 1963.He took over from other leaders who were good for the cause,liberation.If zanu n zapu behaved like tdays opposition ,zanu wuld nt have defeated smith ,not at all.Everyone rallied behind Mugabe.There were disgrantles on leadership,bt for victory we all stood behind Mugabe.Not forming parties if yu have lost party post.Opposition is non existant for now.Its actually twn pple looking for real leaders to lead them.

viola gwena - 16 June 2016

DON'T YOU HAVE BETTER STORIES?

Analyst - 16 June 2016

Ngachibve mhani, munochityeiko chimunin'ina chasatan icho NXAAAAAAAAAAAAA

kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk - 16 June 2016

Mugabe hachina dhiri tell him straight in his face your time is up. Zvekuti anongonga ari muguva, pawheelchair kana mubhara ndezvekuma@#am.

Bhuru Rachatunga - 16 June 2016

Mugabe hachina dhiri tell him straight in his face your time is up. Zvekuti anongonga ari muguva, pawheelchair kana mubhara ndezvekuma@#am.

Bhuru Rachatunga - 16 June 2016

Enough is enough Mugabe has ruled for too long. What makes him special that he does not even want to hear who will lead after him. The man you call Black Jesus must be told Zimbabwe is not for war veterans alone. Why saying Mugabe for life it then means the next ZANU PF leader will be President for life. All in all we are saying Mugabe must leave power for others in ZANU PF. To the opposition parties in the country, this is your time to make sure you plan and make sure you win the next election. Failure to do so means ZANU PF leader chosen will rule for life.

dhlodhlo1 - 16 June 2016

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