War vets declare war on Moyo, 'Tyson'

HARARE - In an unexpected turn of events within President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF, disgruntled war veterans buried the hatchet with First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday — but escalated their beef with ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News last night said the development marked yet another “decisive move” by Team Lacoste — the ruling party faction that is rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations — to “finish off” their nemesis, the Generation 40 (G40) group, of which Moyo and Kasukuwere are two of its alleged top leaders.The move also came after the disaffected ex-combatants held a marathon meeting in Harare on Tuesday with Mugabe’s emissaries, War Veterans’ minister Tshinga Dube and the ministry’s permanent secretary Walter Tapfumaneyi, in a bid to heal the rift between the former freedom fighters and the nonagenarian which widened mid this year.

In the surprising turn of events, war veterans’ chairperson and former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa said yesterday that ex-combatants had no problems with Grace and Mphoko, in a statement that Zanu PF insiders interpreted as confirming that the tables were turning decisively against the G40, which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

This was despite the fact that war veterans had serious run-ins with both Grace and Mphoko in Zanu PF, as the ruling party’s brutal tribal, factional and succession wars had burned hotter over the past two years, leading to the expulsion of the leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) from the former liberation movement in July. “Yes, we have got issues with Kasukuwere and . . . Moyo. We view them as the main culprits in the G40-attempted power grab. We don’t have issues with the vice president (Mphoko), and particularly the First Lady. We don’t have issues with her. She is the wife of our president,” Mutsvangwa told journalists at a press briefing in the capital.

“She is the First Lady. She has got a position in society and that position we respect. But with the other two (Kasukuwere and Moyo), it’s different, particularly when the element of corruption and bad management of the economy comes in.

“I am telling you as someone who was in Cabinet. I know the capacity of those two heads. In fact, I know the incapacity of those two heads,” Mutsvangwa added sarcastically.

(From Left) Mashonaland West provincial war veterans chairperson Cornelius Muwoni, former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and ZNLWVA secretary for information and publicity Douglas Mahiya during a press conference in Harare yesterday. Pic: Annie Mpalume

Zanu PF insiders say many war veterans belong to Team Lacoste, with the ex-combatants publicly asserting earlier this year that Mnangagwa should succeed Mugabe, and warning that if the Midlands godfather is overlooked in the divisive succession process, blood could be shed in the country. Mutsvangwa also implored Zanu PF to dump Moyo and Kasukuwere, to avoid defeat in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

“We went to war for the prosperity of the people. We are always conscious about what people want in Zimbabwe. We have war veterans who come from every village and town of the country and popular sentiment matters to us because that is what protected us during the war,” he said.

“If the party can rediscover its communion with popular sentiment in the country, it will make life easier for war veterans because we feel the party should always be on the side of the people.

“But when the people begin to vote against the candidates of the party like what happened in Norton, we view the verdict of the people being more important than the officials of the party. The minister (Dube) has been assigned to re-engage with us and we want to give that process due space,” Mutsvangwa added.

Zanu PF has been dangling gifts to the war vets, including cash, land and vehicles, in a bid to strengthen the ruling party ahead of the 2018 polls — after initial thuggish methods failed to coerce the disgruntled ex-combatants into line. In serving their divorce papers on Mugabe five months ago, the liberation struggle fighters had also said pointedly that Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding coldly that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he contested the watershed 2018 polls. Over the years, war veterans have served as Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s political power dynamos, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian on the throne in the hotly disputed 2000 and 2008 national elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

Political analysts told the Daily News that yesterday’s events signalled both the thawing of relations between Mugabe and the disaffected war veterans, as well as a possible beginning of the end for the G40.

“The spirited campaign by the war veterans since serving divorce papers on Mugabe might be yielding some results. While Mugabe first responded with his usual brutality and arbitrary imprisonments, he has seen that they are not a pushover. The war veterans are being crafty and are using a carrot and stick approach to ensure that Mugabe ditches the G40, knowing fully well that G40 has framed itself as a faction of the president.

“So, excluding Grace might be a divide and rule tactic and a mechanism to go after the real thinkers and brains behind G40. It might also be a sign that Grace and her husband are reaching out to war veterans having seen how indispensable they are,” civic leader and political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo said.

Human Rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said the ex-combatants had “found their voices” and it would be foolhardy to dismiss them as being spent forces.

“If war veterans or the Mnangagwa faction manage to drive a wedge between Grace, Moyo and Kasukuwere that would effectively cripple the G40 faction. Driving a wedge between Grace Mugabe and Moyo and Kasukuwere is a smart political move that could be a game changer because without Grace’s influence the G40 faction is nothing,” Mavhinga said.

Former Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe executive director McDonald Lewanika said the war veterans were hedging their bets — continuing their support of Mnangagwa and reassuring the first family that they were not their enemies, while targeting those they perceived as problems for them.

“In terms of real politics, it’s a smart play because a fight against the Mugabes is one they have seen they cannot win . . . whether they actually succeed will depend on the extent of the truce that Mnangagwa has secured with Grace, and any overtures of collaboration and accommodation in the future without disturbing the current order.

“The Zanu PF conference is just a month away and it is time for high political drama. And just as Moyo recently set the tone for his group, Mutsvangwa has done the same for the faction he aligns with,” Lewanika said.

Comments (6)

I like my commanders ,Mutsvangwa and yu Mahiya.But plse make no mistake of using us on a hearts n mind issue regarding yo personal issues and comrades issues.I sence one minute yu have a heart for us comrades but yu also seem to have a seperate one for yoself ,regarding the 1st family.Grace must apologise to vp ,straight faced,at a political rally.She humiliated my vp ,beyond compare.Sending prostitutes Mahoka n gang to waylay our leader at rallies she organised.Yu Chris were expelled bcoz of this gang of prostitutes n thieves masqarading as g40.The vp ws made to sit stone faced,stuttled,while Mandi cracked her filthy dirty,bellow the belt inuendos against our vp.Now yu want fish to just fly off n forget?Make her apologise ,otherwise yu Chris have struck a dirty deal wth her for her relevence .Yu want yo ministrial job back.If not then do the right thing.This apology is not for vp alone,its for us the strugglers.

viola gwena - 18 November 2016

pasi na co

pet - 18 November 2016

Vachirikutonga. Pakutonga haupiwi ma instructions of what to do. hautaurirwi zvekuita otherwise unenge usisatonge. Be wary.

gwabu - 18 November 2016

What did we say ? Never trust anyone from zanu bcoz they can easily jika majika and go back to their zanu where they were be witched . Not so long these former war volunteers were clobbered by police set on them by Mugabe but now they call him our president . insulted like aliens by Grace where ever she went now they say she is their first lady nonsense But one thing for sure is these guys are a confused lot and they do not know exactly what they want to do . But the good news is Zimbabweans will never vote for zanu again so going to re join this party will never keep it in power and it is heading to the dust bin together with these guys . Zanu can have all former volunteers of war that does not mean they will win elections nada mani defeat and anguish is looming for zanu and those few who follow it . .One thing for sure their election stealing strategist Moyo is out and without him zanu will never be able to steal our votes nomakanjani zanu minus Moyo is as good as dead and rotten ,

Diibulaanyika - 18 November 2016

In view of unsubstantiated reports that War Veterans were being tailed by some funny looking guys, I understand and accept the volte face. It is better to be a coward and live to fight another day. Comrades we are in this struggle together.

Viva Unidade - 18 November 2016

Zanu PF mutated into mafia looting mob movement led by RG Mugabe. That will never change post Mugabe. We have all watched with awe wrong policies being implemented by Zanu PF. We can not heap all the failure on Mugabe. Where has been ED Munangagwa when all failed policies have been hatched and implemented? Zanu PF has 36 years of failure under their belt. The war veterans even mentioned this very trail of failure by the party and RG Mugabe's leadership. The shame is that we are worse off than we were in Rhodesia. The reason, lack of accountability and productivity. The culture of impunity and unaccountable will prevail for as long as Zanu PF will exist. If War veterans are for the people, they should never ever rejoin Zanu PF mafia mob. Imagine, today we are still having GDP of $13 billion, and $4 billion national budget. For our population, the minerals, educated manpower, this is pittance. These are same figures that Rhodesia worked with 36 years ago. What a shame and shame of an administration.

Mbareboy - 19 November 2016

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