War vets escalate feud with Mugabe

HARARE - War veterans have accused President Robert Mugabe of arm-twisting Zanu PF’s provinces into endorsing him as their preferred choice for the 2018 presidential election, as the fallout between the disaffected former freedom fighters and the increasingly frail nonagenarian deepens.

This comes as all of the party’s 10 provinces have now endorsed Mugabe, 92, as their 2018 presidential candidate, despite growing concerns within the former liberation movement about his health and continued fitness to rule at his advanced age — which is worsening Zanu PF’s deadly succession wars.

In addition, some Zanu PF affiliates — including a minority section of ex-combatants, war collaborators and former political detainees — have also endorsed Mugabe, as the ruling party’s vicious tribal, factional and succession wars get more intractable.

This also all comes as disgruntled war veterans, led by sacked former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, have publicly backed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe — and going to the extent of warning that blood could be shed in the country if he is overlooked.

The spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, told the Daily News yesterday that it was “unfathomable” that his organisation’s members would endorse Mugabe as their preferred presidential candidate for 2018 given his advanced age and health issues.

“The legitimate leader for war veterans is Chris Mutsvangwa. So, if whatever endorsement has been made didn’t come from him, that endorsement is meaningless,” Mahiya told the Daily News.

“As we have said before, we belong to all political parties. Hatisi kuzoisa vanhu vavamwe vanhu, tiri vanhu veruzhinji rweZimbabwe (we will never endorse other people’s candidates as we and the people are one). You must know that everyone in Zimbabwe contributed something towards the liberation war.

“This is why we say we are going to stand on the side of the people and support everyone who respects the ideals of the liberation struggle. After we were expelled from Zanu PF we became a national apparatus. We won’t align ourselves to a certain group or certain individuals anymore,” he added.

While Mugabe and Zanu PF have lately been working hard to heal the widening rift between them and the disaffected former freedom fighters, he lashed at Mutsvangwa and his executive last weekend for allegedly misleading ex-combatants — reminding them further that “politics leads the gun”.

In the same vein, Mugabe flatly refused to give in to the demands of the war veterans that he ditches alleged kingpins of a Zanu PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), including ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo, who are said to be against the ascendancy of Mnangagwa to the presidency.

But Mahiya disagreed with Mugabe declaring that war veterans were now part of politics and therefore the nonagenarian was mistaken in his belief that they wanted the gun to direct politics.

“I want people to know that it is politics that discovered the formula to take the guns and we have now surrendered our guns and are left with politics.

While the guns have been put aside, the people who carried the guns were in politics first before they carried those guns,” he said.

Other Zanu PF insiders also told the Daily News yesterday that although there were some provinces which wanted Mugabe to step down in December and hand-over power to Mnangagwa, these provinces had still endorsed the nonagenarian out of fear of being victimised, as had happened to former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies in the run-up to the party’s sham December 2014 congress.

“The president has lately been showing visible signs of old age as he has struggled to walk and keep up with his busy schedule. However, we cannot speak openly about this because we fear being purged.

“We know that the axe is always hovering above our heads, even as everyone agrees that Gushungo (Mugabe) is now too old and frankly a liability to both the party and country,” one senior party official said.

Mugabe and his brawling ruling party have been working hard to try and heal the widening rift between them and the former freedom fighters, who stunningly ended their 41-year relationship with the nonagenarian after they released a damning communiqué on him and Zanu PF in July this year.

Mugabe and Zanu PF have been dangling gifts to the war vets, including cash, land and vehicles, in a bid to strengthen the ruling party ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 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 also said pointedly that Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding rather churlishly that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he contested the watershed 2018 polls.

Mugabe responded by warning the 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.

Over the years, war veterans have served as Mugabe 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.

Comments (10)

It is actually disgusting for Zanu PF people to be falling each other in support of a 92, then to be 94 year old Mugabe as their candidate for the Presidency. It clearly shows that you have to be a moron, or an absolute idiot to support Zanu PF. No sane person would be this unreasonable, as if Zimbabwe, or indeed Zanu PF itself, has no people capable of leading this country. Even the American President elect Donald Trump wonders what is wrong with the people of this country, because this is hard to believe for any sane human. LIYAYANGISA MANI!!!!

MR COOPER - 24 November 2016

It beggars belief that people would endorse a 94-year old candidate who will then finish the term aged 99. If he was doing a sterling job maybe that would be reasonable but the guy is so clueless its not even funny. It also shows that Mugabe himself cannot think. Why can't he say no to the endorsement in favour of a younger candidate. This is for selfish reasons, he doesn't care for the country a bit.

Inyika - 24 November 2016

If so then the suitable candidate must be below 55 yrs. But never impose let people choose when the time comes.

April 7 - 25 November 2016

When is everybody going to realize that Zanu PF long back ago morphed into a mafia looting vehicle, whose god father is RG Mugabe. So, in Zanu PF, it is not about serving the nation. it is all about looting. The 94 year mafia boss is heads all the looting by his ministers and supporters. There is no accountability. That is why, Zimbabwe, we are a failed state. The question is: why do we have such massive failed populace?

Mbareboy - 25 November 2016

Its unimaginable to have vaMugabe to continue even now as CEO of this country.The head of business for Zimbabwe.That is where I seriously differ wth J Moyo.A learned man wishes all this evil for his country.And some of yu pple think Moyo is great.Shure? When yu vouch for Moyo ,yu are vouching for vaMugabe 2018.Its that simple.Moyo must turn around and be the prof he was once known for in the 80s.Now he stinks.

viola gwena - 25 November 2016

Its a shame that people like viola still have high hopes that people like Jonathan Moyo can change for the better.In fact almost everyone in zanu pf has no potential of changing.If that was the case we could have seen disapprovals from most provinces to have a frail and clueless 92 year old as their contesting president in 2018 elections.That alone speaks volumes of the calibre of zanu pf leaders.The can only makes some silly and stupid noise when they are kicked out from the party.Jonathan Moyo did the same thing when he was kicked out zanu pf.He called Mugabe all sorts of names untill he was re admitted.Zanu pf is a terrorist organisation,a mafia disguising as a political party.

Janana wa Bikaz - 25 November 2016

This is great news for the opposition! They will be contesting a blind, confused and dementic candidate in two years' time. This speaks volumes about the number of morons in this party.

Sharia - 25 November 2016

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yenconstin - 28 November 2016

Mugabe is sharp and very right. The war veterans were very misguided to try and impose a leader on us Zimbabweans. Its a work up call. Viva Mugabe

gwabu - 28 November 2016

Fear -yes Possible victimisation or stigmatisation-yes Hating the president- No Appreciating what he has done for the country but also unhappy with some of his achievements-Yes: BUT THE MAIN POINT REMAINS:ITS TIME FOR THE PRESIDENT TO RETIRE:REASONS-too old,has overstayed,has bn undemocratic all along intentionally intimidating every one including members of his own party into supporting his overstay.The decision to retire him is unanimous both within own party &the nation at large,save only for the intimidations &few irredeemables

addmore gudo - 28 November 2016

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