Now Tsvangirai meets war vets

HARARE - In a stunning development that is likely to rock President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF further, Zimbabwe’s restless war veterans have met with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai — as the palpable agitation for change in the country continues to gain momentum.

The unexpected turn of events comes as Zimbabwe’s political landscape continues to change fast, with pro-democracy and opposition parties embracing former ruling party stalwarts, including disillusioned war veterans who recently dumped Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Victor Matemadanda, yesterday confirmed to the Daily News their meeting with Tsvangirai — a man they used to deride for challenging Mugabe — on Thursday last week.

“Yes (we met him, Tsvangirai).We want to work with everyone to build a new Zimbabwe. Why can that be wrong to meet as Zimbabweans? (Joice) Mujuru is a former vice president, Tsvangirai was once the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and I was expelled from Zanu PF.

“Isn’t it also curious that when we say something we are associated with the West as if we cannot think for ourselves? No, we are all Zimbabweans and we can think. What Mugabe should know is that tiri nhunzi dzakasangana patsvina (we are united by the same purpose),” the forthright Matemadanda said.

The disaffected war veterans served divorce papers on Mugabe last month after growing disillusioned with Zimbabwe’s worsening rot, and also recently announced that they would no longer support Zanu PF only going forward, but would allow their members to embrace political parties of their choice.

And in yet another stunning development, the former freedom fighters also embraced radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile three weeks ago, which has been leading massive protests against Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Political observers said it was when the war vets met with Tajamuka’s leadership that they gave the first clear hint that they were now ready to join hands with the country’s much-maligned opposition.

Just before that, the ex-combatants had repudiated their long-standing ties with Mugabe, issuing a stinging communiqué in which they derisively described the nonagenarian as a “hard sell” for the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections — a move that Zanu PF bigwigs did not take lightly.

Addressing a hastily-convened meeting of ruling party supporters in Harare headquarters after that repudiation, Mugabe warned the disaffected war veterans that they would be dealt with severely, including through the use of extra-judicial suppression methods that his former liberation movement incorporated during the country’s independence war — such as incarcerating dissenters in inhuman dungeons where they were forced to live like caged rats.

Soon after that, police launched a savage crackdown against the war vets leadership and arrested five officials, including Matemadanda and ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, both of whom are currently out on bail.

But the defiant Matemadanda said last week’s meeting with Tsvangirai was the beginning of more meetings with different opposition leaders.

“We are going to meet Mujuru, Simba Makoni (leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) and we will meet all the other leaders,” he told the Daily News.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka would neither confirm nor deny that the meeting took place.

“Assuming that it is true that they met, it’s not a crime for Zimbabweans to meet . . . it is refreshing that war veterans are now on the side of the people. A few years ago, they used to brutalise the people . . . Zimbabweans are now speaking from one corner and that is what is important,” he said.

War vets have been one of Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

In 2008, war veterans led a retribution campaign against MDC supporters after Tsvangirai had defeated Mugabe hands down in that year’s hotly-disputed presidential plebiscite.

Mugabe, 92, is battling growing resistance to his long rule, as the spirit of resistance sweeping across the country is nearing tipping point, with angry Zimbabweans mounting wave after wave of debilitating protests.

Two more massive demonstrations are scheduled for this week — beginning with a nationwide shutdown tomorrow, and a mega demo on Friday.

Last Friday, police bludgeoned hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Harare under the auspices of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of 18 opposition political parties that had planned to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat on outstanding electoral reforms.

Even after the High Court had ruled that the protest march could go ahead, riot police — backed by armoured trucks and water cannons — indiscriminately fired volleys of teargas at all and sundry, battering and chasing groups of determined opposition supporters.

The deepening political crisis in the country has since caught the attention of the international community, including the United Nations which has said it is now closely monitoring the situation.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson of UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, said the UN was especially concerned by worsening police brutality in the country.

This comes as the Sadc heads of states, including Mugabe, are currently meeting in Swaziland in a crucial summit which rights groups are lobbying to put Zimbabwe put on its agenda.

Last week, the internationally-respected Group of Elders, who include a former American president and head of the United Nations, issued an unusually frank call to the regional bloc to intervene in the worsening Zimbabwean political crisis.

In July, riots broke out at the border town of Beitbridge when angry traders protested against the government’s ill-advised decision to ban the importation of basic consumer goods.

More than 70 people were arrested in the aftermath of those riots which destroyed property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the burning of a warehouse belonging to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

The riots later spread to Harare where police once again used force to break a demonstration called by commuter omnibus drivers and touts to protest too many police roadblocks on the roads, which they claimed had become extortionate.

Comments (33)

a terminal ill colon cancer patient meeting with a man who played a periphery role in the liberation struggle is not newsworthy,even if they meet thousand times nothing changes,both are clueless,both use balls to think and anybody who sees these two as their saviour is a candidate for ingutsheni hospital

truth - 30 August 2016

truth?????

wekunyombwe - 30 August 2016

First of all Tsvangirai should find out from those guys why they stayed with the rotten leader for so long, what exactly has changed that made them change their minds so soon after giving Mugabe the mandate to run for president in 2018. Aren't they selling the country to the imperialist by joining the man they were calling a stooge a few minutes ago

Ziggy Zigawo - 30 August 2016

Welcome development. The winds of change are sweeping throughout Zimbabwe. The youth will never be the same again. They are as resolute as the freedom fighters were when they took the big risk to join the war effort. It is a new war. The people's war and the people will win. Sorry Truth, your jon sucks. Aluta continua! Pamberi nemhuri ye Zimbabwe.

Viva Unidade - 30 August 2016

Tasvika pamahombekombe zvino. Caution to the winds ! Focus: Mugabe ( and his wife ) must go. Hapana chitsva chaangatitaurira chaasati atura. We don`t owe you anything for destroying our country. Just go ! NOW !

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 30 August 2016

Tasvika pamahombekombe zvino. Caution to the winds ! Focus: Mugabe ( and his wife ) must go. Hapana chitsva chaangatitaurira chaasati atura. We don`t owe you anything for destroying our country. Just go ! NOW !

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 30 August 2016

Mr truth shandisai rurimi rwaamai venyu. It's "terminally ill", and "peripheral role". Munoda kuzviita muchenjeri maningi saka tirikukugadzirisai. Dai maizvininipisa sevamwe taiita ignore chidofochenyu.

Mangurenje - 30 August 2016

guys our prime enemy is Mugabe anyone who is truly against him no matter from hell ; at this juncture is really needed Mugabe and his family I mean grace and kids

peacelover - 30 August 2016

Kkkkk

Chibaba - 30 August 2016

Dialogue is the best way forward.Those who for their selfish reasons verbal assault are likely to be left behind by the current national political dynamics.Politics has no formula,today's enemy is a friend,today friend is an enemy tomorrow.Those who wish to dwell in the past would be rudely disillusioned when they are left in the cold by fast moving political developments.

Gen. Spinola - 30 August 2016

tikaziva chete kuti imbwanana hadzisvinuri zuva rimwe, hatitsvaki kuti sei ma o vet vangavasina kusvinura 2008"until a few days ago.Vatambirei nomufaro. kare haagari ari kare.

Robed - 30 August 2016

tsvangirai must continue to negotiate with the war vets so that he can have more support but he must remember to dump them soon after winning the elections bcoz these are the same culprits whom killed our brother's during rerun of 08

dida - 31 August 2016

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aladin - 31 August 2016

usatye kana kuvhunduka

chitovea - 31 August 2016

Guys be wary of truth. i dont see sense in truth's comments. What has sickness to do with this. A true human being and a Zimbo celebrating other peoples sickeness. Truth if you have no comments SHUT UP.

Tired of ZANU - 31 August 2016

Dont worry Tired, Truth is a ZANU moroon somewhere in the CIO. They will see light too late because change is coming and coming real fast, the power is with the people. If this govt doesnt know that we decide to behave and be ruled. But when we see that those we have trusted with power are abusing it, we the people take that power away from them, and TRUTH must know that too.

Hondo - 31 August 2016

Now war vets have regained their common senses and seen who to turn to fix the rot in the country and that is the macho man of zim politics Morgan . Remember EVEN Jonathan Moyo in 1993 predicted that the only person who will become president of this country after Mugabe is Morgan but war vets took so long to realise that but thank god they have regained their composure so big up to them lets work together fix the problm in our country and it is Mugabe . Remember we are all suffering under Mugabe and we can together remove him .

Diibulaanyika - 31 August 2016

KKKKKKKK never worry about this idiot called Truth he is actually a poacher who is busy illegally mutilating rhino horns this is a bastard who is scared of return is rule of law so that he can go on doing his sins to this nation .

Diibulaanyika - 31 August 2016

Anything chinoita kuti Mugabe ayende is welcome, hatichamuda iye naGrace

olga - 31 August 2016

The war vets have truly matured. They have realised that their lives and that of their children has been robbed and eroded over the years as they have always been promised lies. 36 yrs after independence very few have anything to show for their involvement in the liberation war. Their children are degreed and jobless. They themselves are seeing a few enjoying the fruits of their sweat. It is indeed time up and this is unacceptable in a free Zimbabwe. War vets fought and helped bring about our independence. We are truly grateful for that. After that they should have known that they were free to participate in any political party of their choice, as advocated for by cde Matemadanda. One of them could still form a political party and have followers and even become President. This is proper democracy. Kwete kubatirwa kwavanga vachingoitwa ne Zanu PF na Va Robert Mugabe. The above move will certainly change for the better the political landscape of Zimbabwe.

icho - 31 August 2016

like this forum,what I read.U know guys this man is making us inferior.South Africans don't want us ,all becoz one person who destroyed our beautiful country

Percy - 31 August 2016

kudala silitxela ,M happy that nw u cn c.Lets take these kroks down and claim our country ,it does nt belong to ZANU.It belongs zimbabweans

Percy - 31 August 2016

People should not be afraid of thier Government, the government should be afraid of the people.

commander-in-thief - 31 August 2016

Unison of thought, kunonzi kutendeuka - its called repentance - mushure mekusangana kwemafungiro. Its a clear indication that there was once hope and trust or some sort of faith in the leadership of His Excellency but now its diminished hence the war vet are now open minded not to align with one party. If that's what advances the people of this nation, its integrity and the economy of Zimbabwe its the most noble thing people of a nation can do. i personally commend Teurairop Joice Mujuru for making it back onto the political arena after ZANU PF. All the best. Tsvangison i commend you for staying put to the call of opposition politics despite being robbed of two presidential victories. War veterans the time has come that the world so eagerly waited for - this is a moment of truth - its no longer about bygones nor being bought for the support through long overdue pay outs for your contribution in the liberation struggle. Thank you Zimbabwe for staying committed to struggle still.

NormaN Nyamukapa - 31 August 2016

Its better late than never comrades. To quote an earlier article "mbwanana dzese hadzisvinure zuva rimwechete". We are sick and tired of being trashed pauperized by an old man propped up by a clueless and kleptocratic elite that is willing to throw the kitchen sink at overwhelming public opinion. It reminds me of Nicolae Ceausescu who kept on believing that all was well until protestors came up to the gates of his palace and arrested him. Comrades talk to everyone mubvumirane kuti hatidi madhisinyongoro kana Mugabe aenda. Ngatibatanei tese Tsvangirai Mai Mujuru, Mnangagwa etc tiende mberi pasina kubayana kana kuurayana nekutsvaga vatungamiriri who will pull us out of this quagmire. The imperialists are watching, poised to pounce and take advantage of this disarray. Let us display the strong sense of purpose and maturity that propelled us through our national liberation struggle and unite against this tyranny. Chitepo, Mdhala Wethu Tongo, Ziyapapa, Rex Nhongo nemamwe Magamba ese vazojamukawo manje. Icho! Charira muZimbabwe!

Jaikolu Maison - 31 August 2016

but Tsvangirai is not a good leader,we need to replace him with some sound,visionery,person,as our nation gears for further independence fr the jaws of Mugabe.He was only good attack dog at the ZCTU

addmore gudo - 31 August 2016

The Zimbabwean situation is one example of the use of social media to liberate people. Those against revolution cant help it bur watch as pendulum swing towards change with social media being the heart & and soul of everything. Between 1999 & 2008, it was very difficult to spread the word and convince people. Pamphlets alone could not trigger the necessary shock wave to move rulers off their seat, plus they were expensive to print. Now, millions and millions of text are flying and if continue reading & reading you will get the message. The is simple. Lets liberate ourselves.

Bla Tdza - 31 August 2016

Those of you who have taken upon yourselves to continue to denigrate Morgan Tsvangirai remember the following: 1: Most of you are biased against him because of the INTENSE BRAIN WASHING YOU UNDERWENT FROM ZANUPF, THE ZBC AND THE HERALD PROPAGANDA . 1: TSVANGIRAI WAS ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO for many years have called ZANUPF members to change their thieving ways " Chinja Maitiro" 2; Thomas Mapfumo is one of those who for many years tried to tell Zimbabweans of " Corruption In Society" 3: To cover up their evil ways, for years , ZanuPF has been throwing all dirt they could master against Morgan Tsvangirai. 4: Actually Morgan Tsvangirai IS the legitimate President of Zimbabwe because HE won the " One Man One Vote " elections, not Robert Mugabe. 5: Even if Morgan Tsvangirai dies from the Cancer which Mugabe may also succumb to, historians will record that it was Mugabe who stole the Presidency 6: By the way, a person who steals is called a thief. 7: Ma War Vets azoswinura wo as some now acknowledge that Morgan Tsvangirai is a genuine leader dedicated to the welfare of all Zimbabweans including Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his family. 8 : Morgan Tsvangirai has never said " Pasi na Nhingi".

Sekuru Ndoronga - 31 August 2016

"Truth" is an idiot to put things truthfully and into perspective. Corruption started immediately after Independence and people turned a blind eye to it as they thought the HE would work to eliminate it. Drought relief scandal of Samson Paweni and Kumbirai Kangai, the Willowavale Motor vehicle scandal which caused Maurice Nyagumbo to take his life, and many more scandals and on and on and on and on until $15billion disappeared.How long can the Zimbabwean masses continue to swallow the propaganda and drivel generated by ZANU PF when they are dying of hunger? Regime change is a legitimate course of action. There is absolutely nothing bad about people wanting to change their rulers. That is why leaders are recalled when they have failed in a normal democracy. Mugabe and his corrupt cronies do not know everything! Havasi vana Mwari! Their end has come! It has got nothing to do with the Western powers but everything to do with the people of Zimbabwe.

Raggamuffin - 1 September 2016

"Truth" is an idiot to put things truthfully and into perspective. Corruption started immediately after Independence and people turned a blind eye to it as they thought the HE would work to eliminate it. Drought relief scandal of Samson Paweni and Kumbirai Kangai, the Willowavale Motor vehicle scandal which caused Maurice Nyagumbo to take his life, and many more scandals and on and on and on and on until $15billion disappeared.How long can the Zimbabwean masses continue to swallow the propaganda and drivel generated by ZANU PF when they are dying of hunger? Regime change is a legitimate course of action. There is absolutely nothing bad about people wanting to change their rulers. That is why leaders are recalled when they have failed in a normal democracy. Mugabe and his corrupt cronies do not know everything! Havasi vana Mwari! Their end has come! It has got nothing to do with the Western powers but everything to do with the people of Zimbabwe.

Raggamuffin - 1 September 2016

thanks var vets in us great urturn

tadiwa - 2 September 2016

Gudo;s comments about Tsvangirai being a non visionary leader and bla bla are shallow and full of hatred for the former PM in the government of national unity.Mind u it is Tsvangirai who started this war against this ruthless tyranny and it is this macho man who should see us through.

MATINYANYA - 3 September 2016

The list of people murdered by Mugabe is endless.his pasi nanhingi slogan is pure testimony of his murderous trend.he runs about the country proclaiming that Tsvangirai is the agent of the West ,he is a tea boy,he loves dresses and bla bla bla .guys can anyone out there furnish me with the history of The first Wife before Bob pounced on her?

MATINYANYA - 3 September 2016

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