Zim on edge

HARARE - With President Robert Mugabe’s panicking government cranking up its assault on war veterans rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions, there are growing fears that the darkening political mood in the country could soon boil over into deadly violence.

Analysts and Zanu PF bigwigs who spoke to the Daily News yesterday agreed that “dark clouds” were hanging over Zimbabwe after the government ratcheted up its crackdown on the former freedom fighters, including effecting more arrests of the beleaguered leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).

In a desperate bid to shore up his waning national support, Mugabe’s close aides arranged a hastily put together meeting between the increasingly frail nonagenarian and a faction of the war veterans in Harare on Wednesday, where the long-ruling leader issued chilling warnings to his growing band of critics — including the church, western embassies, journalists and ex-combatants.

“History has shown us that Mugabe’s threats are seldom empty. Mugabe has basically declared open season on dissenting voices within and without Zanu PF and he will prevail if people cower and rush to hide.

“However, the challenge for Mugabe is that where in the past his hand has been stronger because of relative unity in Zanu PF, this time around the enemy is both internal and external.

“Some of the war vets who have backed him have even declared that they have had enough of his leadership, at the same time that citizens’ movements like #Tajamuka and #ThisFlag have animated people and emboldened them,” analyst McDonald Lewanika said.

Lewanika added that he firmly believed that if people remained steadfast in their quest to have Mugabe resign, the nonagenarian threats against pro-democracy activist would come to nought.

“Mugabe can threaten everyone but can only win if these different groups fail to appreciate that they are stronger together, and continue to allow their various differences to separate them. And if they band together and continue to resist, Mugabe’s threats can be made empty,” Lewanika told the Daily News.

The 92-year-old leader was publicly humiliated by war veterans last week when they served divorce papers on him, including through a stinging communiqué which forced Zanu PF to convene Wednesday’s meeting in Harare where Mugabe warned that they would be punished severely.

“During the war we had sell-outs on various stages. We would punish them and build underground cells, and we used to give them sadza while they were there,” the nonagenarian said.

Former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who was once thrown into dungeons by Mugabe while in exile in Mozambique in 1978, said yesterday that the Zimbabwean leader did not tolerate dissent.

“He will not tolerate any opposition and will have anyone who challenges his rule arrested. He is talking about a third force, blaming the West and the church for instigating people to rebel but the reality is that the third force is the people who are suffering, yet he has no compassion but to clampdown on dissenting voices,” Gumbo said.

True to Mugabe’s word, his panicking government arrested war veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya on Wednesday, sending hundreds of former freedom fighters into hiding in fear of also being nabbed.

And yesterday, forthright war veterans’ secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, was also arrested in Gokwe, as the crackdown on the restless ex-combatants gathered pace.

“Mugabe is pretty lethal and extremely vicious when his hold on power is threatened. Of course, as the MDC, we are concerned and worried by his threats to clamp down on opposition political parties.

“We can only ignore these ominous and tyrannical threats at our peril. He has no respect for the rule of law. Not too long ago war veterans were also tear-gassed after they had protested. And if violence can be unleashed on war veterans what about us and the church?” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu asked.

Former war commander Bernard Manyadza (war name Parker Chipoyera), who like Gumbo was also arrested at the instigation of Mugabe towards the end of the liberation struggle in the late 1970s, said the Zanu PF leader could not be left to do as he pleased anymore.

“We are tired of his threats because Mugabe, who was himself once arrested championing democracy, has now become the number one enemy of democracy, threatening war veterans who raised legitimate questions about governance.

“What he is doing clearly shows that this organisation has become counter-revolutionary. Our comrades in Zanu PF were asking legitimate questions and they are told you have no right, and yet during the war we were politicised soldiers,” Manyadza said.

Another political analyst, Dewa Mavhinga, warned that Mugabe’s threats and attacks against his critics would only serve to worsen the current dire situation in the country.

“Things are falling apart. His elaborate patronage system is crumbling because the country is broke and there are no solutions in sight,” Mavhinga said.

    Comments (24)

    Mugabe has already lost. He cannot win. Its like Hitler during the Second World War. Once he opened a front against Russia he was gone. There were too many fronts. Mugabe's fronts are the opposition, the people, Mnangagwa and war vets and the economy. Surely he will not win. Zimbabwe prepare for a new dispensation.

    Clear - 29 July 2016

    what violence@dailynews,stop being doomsday predictors,only those backing mnangagwa are willing to have this country descend into turmoil as is in their DNA and they have nostalgia of gukurahundi,they will stop at nothing,after butchering thousands of matebeles mnangagwa smells blood,but as zanu pf,history shows us its not always plain sailing,we have had sellouts in our midst,assigned to come and rock and distract us be it from the liberation struggle or delivering services to the masses,the enemy has taken many forms,at times disguised as an economic reform programme eg ESAP,or a trade union or an opposition party,the president,RG,is the nations insurance policy,our compass,our inspiration,we will there fore rally behind him and dump his longtime personal assistant or chiporori who thinks proximity to the great leader qualifies him for top office,zanu pf will survive all these machinations and emerge stronger,in the meantime i urge the govt to cancel leases to farm recipients no longer with us and demolish the houses of protesters

    truth - 29 July 2016

    Its unfortunate sme of us cant debate n put all facts here coz we get arrested.Laws are being amended to arrest us.Laws are being brocken just arrest us ,for what?For divorsing.Its now a crime bt not a sin.I divorced my forma husband,I culd have been locked up.When it comes to gukurahundi I can tell yu that Mnangagwa will be beta prosecuting than in the dock.bring it on on this one.

    viola gwena - 29 July 2016

    I am sorry dear readers i am a liar my headlines is to push for daily sales of my rotten paper which churns out lie after lie every day

    Daily News - 29 July 2016

    Here goes the retard again. An insurance policy in Zim dollars is worth zilch. What inspiration is your president giving right now. He cant even answer simple questions asked by ordinary civilians and his former erstwhile bootlickers (they've seen the light too late). The current bootlickers can now admit the boots are smelly even with their snouts 90% in. Not many people are afraid of a man who can hardly stand on his own, fly fisted, full of vapourware and nothing solid to offer. I've never admired this man so my disappointment is less than that of the average Zimbabwean.Zimbabw

    Sagitarr - 29 July 2016

    Truth your mind is evil indeed. You sound like the son of the devil himself. How can you talk of demolition of people's shelter. Be careful some of this stuff that you always vomit coz one day the Lord will strike you.

    Mukanya - 29 July 2016

    My heart aches when I see the torture that my fathers the genuine war veteran go through each day when they reflect upon the death of our Generals Tongogara, Mujuru and the hopes that these two gentleman had for a better Zimbabwe. Let us pray for the war veterans. Yes they made mistakes. We all do. Now they as they repent late us receive them with love.

    Viva Unidade - 29 July 2016

    Who is this guy calling himself truth.Please daily news don't publish this guy's rubbish comments.He is the enemy of truth.These ZANU people are very cruel. He is trying to campaign for his brother in crime Robert.Every time I read his stupid comments.This guy is our enemy,, just do us fever &don't publish his nonsense please

    matsotsi - 29 July 2016

    @truth, I'm in my 30yrs and there is nothing meaningful that I remember Bob doing. Land reform was a nobble idea but the beneficiaries where not just zimbabweans, you had to be zanu as well to benefit. Tell something other than land reform that Bob has improved, maybe I might understand why you love him with such passion

    senzeninaa - 29 July 2016

    Unless @Truth is playing the devil's advocacy I fail to comprehend his arguments. Are you now apportioning the blame for the genocide. You have admitted that the so called chapter of madness was actually state sponsored brutality under the superintendent of the vampire and blood thirsty dictator. So guys there it is a confession and that your leader is mortal like anyone else is escaping you .

    Aluta Continua - 29 July 2016

    Truth I see you are one of those condoms that are used by Mugabe and there is no doubt you will burst very soon like the rest and be discarded

    Tich - 29 July 2016

    Truth I see you are one of those condoms that are used by Mugabe and there is no doubt you will burst very soon like the rest and be discarded

    Tich - 29 July 2016

    Truth I see you are one of those condoms that are used by Mugabe and there is no doubt you will burst very soon like the rest and be discarded

    Tich - 29 July 2016

    Cd Mugabe hit them hard into line particularly those overts. we are where we are because of them. Pay them nothing. You will prevail without doubt as you have always.

    gwabu - 29 July 2016

    whip them into line cde president,i second that we replicate the israeli policy of demolition of suicide bombers homes by punishing those that destroy other peoples property during their protests over southafrican cooking oil and condoms

    jojo - 29 July 2016

    i remember the TRUTH coming from your mouth Truth. u at one point tried but failed to convince us that the Gukuraundi was a justified massacre ,but that was then ka Munangagwa was still your darling .you remember going any length defending Munangagwa saying factionalism in ZANU was nothing but a fairy tail designed by oppositions to vilify the strong ZANU. im surprised kuty nhasi ndiwe ukutaura lowly of Munangagwa .as much as i hate ngwena im now sure that what u Truth stand against is the right and correct thing to do. that being said ndoty pamberi nekudonha kweZANU yako

    murambatsvina - 29 July 2016


    dofo - 29 July 2016

    Truth is only doing his job. But besides Truth this dicatorship has genuine supporters out there. Some do it for the mbanje, food and beers that they get from ZANU PF. Some are sadists who enjoy the suffering of the ordinary people. Still others have been brainwashed by the dictatorship. Cry our beloved country but the end is nigh!

    Viva Unidade - 29 July 2016

    Am angry with people like truth who delights in people's suffering, Mugs be must go he has failed us long time ago,his exit is long overdue,Zimbabweans we must stand up and unite and vote for MDC T the only people's Party not mai Mai Mujuru and Tendai Biti all these are Zanu pf ploy trying to derail us to the promised land. MAC T will take us there,don't listen to Truth he is mad.

    chatikobo - 30 July 2016

    May someone here seriously tell me if this TRUTH character is a real Zimbabwean or he/she is living in a parallel world?

    IsheZimuto - 30 July 2016

    @truth is fully entitled to air his opinion - we must not discourage him from doing so, not because I agree with anything he says but simply because it serves our purpose to see how these ZANU PF types think and behave...and I share his comments with thousands of others externally. It exposes ZANU PF mentality and their insensitivity to the massive hardships people have to endure under their leadership. All of them know that their time is now limited as opposition to President Mugabe government grows not just internally but also externally, even within SADC and the AU.

    Mbewa - 30 July 2016

    #ThisFlag the mighty roar of Freedom echoing in the corridors of power - #Tajamuka #Mugabe & his Master #China are afraid they know the time is over - of rape plunder & destroy - Our sons and daughter they will liberate us - Enough is Enough - The Corridors of Power are shaking and cracking soon the will come tumbling down > Viva the revolution #ProudToBeZimbabwean #PrayersForZimbabwe

    Sharon Hoole - 30 July 2016

    Just ignore the comments of "Truth" The person is just peddling the worn out Zanu PF dogma that only Mugabe has the answer for this country. The fact is that no matter what he/she (or any other Zanu apologist) rants, the bell tolls for the corrupt, self-serving group of old folks who call themselves a "government." They can rant and shout slogans (that's been our diet for 36 years) till the "cows come home' but the real truth is the sun is setting on Zanu PF.

    Times are a changing - 30 July 2016

    @Mbewa, as much as I understand were you are coming from. People like @Truth should be shunned with contempt they deserve because they inflict more pain on an open wound. S/he makes no sense at all and besides we have known ZANU pf for 36 years & therefore we understand their way of thinking more than they do.

    Mentalist - 30 July 2016

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