War veterans put Mugabe on notice

HARARE - Disaffected war veterans, who appear to be revelling in Zanu PF’s stunning loss to Temba Mliswa in the Norton by-election, have warned President Robert Mugabe that if he contests the 2018 elections, they could once again campaign for an opposition candidate.

Forthright war vets secretary-general Victor Matemadanda also told the Daily News yesterday that ex-combatants, who played a major role in the weekend by-election, would perform “another Norton” in 2018 if Mugabe stood in those keenly-anticipated polls.

This comes after Mliswa knocked cold Zanu PF’s Ronald Chindedza to win the Norton constituency, which fell vacant earlier this year following the expulsion of war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa from the ruling party — which is being ravaged by its deadly factional and succession wars.

“We are happy Mliswa won and Zanu PF should know that we are plotting another Norton for 2018 after realising that Zanu PF in its current state cannot be the vehicle with which the people’s aspirations can be realised, hence we will back a party that will field a candidate that we feel is incorruptible.

“We are going to support anyone who is going to represent the people’s aspirations with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) acting as a fair referee in the election.

“Should we come to the conclusion that there is none among the candidates that the parties will have fielded, we are in the process of amending our constitution ahead of our congress, and there the association will decide if it seconds its own candidate without it necessarily turning into a political party,” Matemadanda said.

War veterans, since falling out with Mugabe, have been working with pro-democracy and opposition groups to help end their former patron’s rule, which they now openly say has been disastrous.

The former freedom fighters had been Mugabe 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 MDC supporters.

But they served Mugabe with divorce papers in July to end a long relationship which dated back to the days of the 1970s liberation struggle. This was after the war veterans’ executive issued a damning communiqué in which they said churlishly that the nonagenarian was now “a hard sell” for the 2018 national elections.

Subsequently, authorities launched a brutal crackdown against the war veterans, resulting in the arrest of a number of their leaders, including Mutsvangwa, while also moving to as expel them from Zanu PF.

On Saturday they gained a measure of revenge when Mliswa won the Norton constituency which they viewed as theirs because of Mutsvangwa’s hotly-disputed expulsion from the ruling party.

Comments (6)

True, Mugabe &his zanu PF's days in power are numbered now that he has tourched th wrong button.His notorious overstay in power, is th main issue with the locals&former supporters other than n other issue.Of course his management of the economy is second issue

addmore gudo - 26 October 2016

With or without the support of the war veterans President Mugabe fears nothing other than perhaps his age. He has mobilized a strong youth movement who remain committed and loyal. Even more important he has the continued support of most of SADC and the AU and until such time as their attitude towards Mugabe changes and they exert pressure things will remain the same here. All of us know that the next elections will be rigged and the outcome still recognized and accepted by SADC and the AU. This is the truth.

Mbewa - 26 October 2016

lets unite all opposition patries and downn size zanupf to a 3mnths existin party in 218....ngatimbomira kufunga zvakawanda tibvise bato ramugab rauraya nyika iri

cde phil mhuriyengwe - 26 October 2016

Don't ignore the role the war vets could play in the political dynamics of this country.It should not be ignored that experience has no substitute,no matter how much one could bring his/her text book political theories in this game.Simply said,politics has no formula.Please rely on those who have been in the thick of things before.

Gen. Spinola - 26 October 2016

Are the war veterans really responsible for Mliswa's victory?They may have played a part but it is the people of Norton who deserve all the credit.War veterans are trying to paint themselves as crucial ,which they are not, at least not anymore.

Jonso - 27 October 2016

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TF Flooring - 1 November 2016

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