War vets back Mugabe ouster

HARARE - Disaffected war veterans who have been feuding with President Robert Mugabe since the parties’ highly publicised fall-out last year, are once again needling their former patron by throwing their weight behind the quest by opposition parties to establish a grand coalition ahead of next year’s eagerly-awaited national polls.

This comes as former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), announced last Friday that the mooted opposition alliance meant to turf Mugabe out of power would be sealed by year end.

Mugabe and the seriously unhappy former freedom fighters have been exchanging brickbats since their stunning fall-out in July last year, when the ex-combatants issued a damning communiqué to end their decades-long relationship with the increasingly frail nonagenarian, dating back to the days of the country’s liberation struggle in the 1970s.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, said they were fully behind the formation of a grand coalition alliance because they also felt that this would work in the interest of long-suffering ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Our message for 2018 is that people must be free to choose anyone they want, who they think is a good leader. That’s, after all, what we fought for.

“As long as the coalition is going to represent the suffering masses of Zimbabwe, we are going to support it. But what we don’t need are people who create a special class so that they will enjoy life while people are suffering,” the forthright Mahiya said.

“Zanu PF has created a bourgeois class which is enjoying life while people are struggling to get food and that is not good for our country. As you know, all our people suffered to liberate this country,” he added.

“We have declared 2017 as a year of engagement with everyone. As I told you before, we are now working for the people of Zimbabwe. So, we don’t belong to a certain group of people.

“We want even to speak to the president to tell him the real poverty situation affecting the majority of Zimbabweans. However, we know that we will be not able to get to him for now because of some people who surround him.

“So, due to this fact, we don’t look forward to meeting with the president,” Mahiya said.

Last Friday, Mujuru — who was ruthlessly purged from the warring Zanu PF in late 2014, together with her close allies who included liberation stalwarts such as Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, on untested claims of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe — assured Zimbabweans that the mooted opposition alliance would be in place by the end of 2017.

“We agree with the sentiments which we gathered from the interactive discussions we had with the people during our nation-wide tour. Your message was loud and clear, that it’s time for Mugabe to leave office.

“We also take heed of your strong conviction for the need that opposition parties should form a grand coalition to effect change in the regime and bring about a new way that puts people first.

“As ZPF, we believe a grand coalition should not only quantify votes, but should bring our people together. It should be a process capable of fostering convergence and national healing.

“A process of such magnitude should also be people-driven and guided by the need to build like-minded synergies among various stakeholders,” Mujuru said in her end-of-year statement.

In the meantime, political analysts have warned that without war veterans, it would be difficult for Mugabe and Zanu PF to retain power in the 2018 elections.

Speaking in the run-up to Zanu PF’s annual conference last month, Mugabe tried to heal the rift with the angry former freedom fighters by offering them cash, land and cars.

But a defiant Mahiya said yesterday that the war veterans would not be swayed by Mugabe’s overtures, insisting that they would not also campaign for the Zanu PF leader.

“We read in the papers that Zanu PF is trying to lure us back to the party through buying us cars and giving us material things, but we never went to war for such material things.

“There are people who are benefiting from the current corruption in the government and those people want to maintain the status quo. But in 2018, the people’s vote must and will be respected.

“In 2018 people must not listen to anyone who is corrupt. Povo yatambura muZimbabwe (ordinary people are suffering terribly in Zim) and we always say that we (war vets) are now referees and that any political party that wants to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle through failing to listen to the people must be thrown into the dustbins of politics,” Mahiya said in a barb aimed at Zanu PF.

Since serving their divorce papers on Mugabe, the liberation struggle fighters have gone on to say openly that the nonagenarian’s continued stay in power is now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding, almost churlishly, that the nonagenarian would also be “a hard-sell” if he contested the watershed 2018 presidential elections.

And yet, war veterans had served as Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s political power dynamos for decades, 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.

In last year’s Norton by-election, which was won by an independent candidate and former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Temba Mliswa, the disgruntled vets worked with the opposition, dishing out an ominous warning to Mugabe and his divided party in terms of their bigger intention to put spanners in the works of Zanu PF in 2018.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule — especially at this time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru have been working behind the scenes to form an electoral pact which includes some of the smaller political outfits.

Sources close to the ongoing coalition manoeuvres confirmed to the Daily News last week that there was now “an agreement in principle” between Mujuru and Tsvangirai about the two working together — with talks with another opposition leader, Welshman Ncube  apparently set to be concluded soon.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru are part of the 18 opposition parties which have coalesced under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), and which has recently scored a psychological victory by forcing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to include them in committees tasked with working on the 2018 election preparatory works.

Since Mujuru joined hands with Tsvangirai and marched with him in the streets of Gweru in August last year — in a rare public display of unity among the opposition — there have been growing calls by fed up citizens for the formation of a grand opposition alliance.

Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980 — is facing the biggest challenge to his 36-year-rule.

His government is struggling to pay civil servants, amid a deepening economic crisis which includes falling revenues and horrendous job losses — with public sector salary dates now as elastic and as unpredictable as the discarded Zimbabwe dollar.

As it is, many civil servants and hard-pressed State pensioners will only be paid their December 2016 salaries this month.

Comments (13)

I honestly think Zimbabweans shuld now leave vaMugabe alone to enjoy his daily napps at home.Its us Zimbos that wake him up crying for his attention n yet we all know he is old now,wants to sleep more than usual.He is nolonger running the show,let alone economy.Cde Mahiya its time to move on ,leave mudhata kumba .If yu want dialogue on zanu matters ,go to Ngwena.He iz the Vp in charge now,in state and Zanu.Even the return of warvetts into Zanu can be initiated by vp.He is second in command ,in charge.Leave the old man now.He is too old to even understand yo problems.That is if he still remembers yu.Direct all yo complains to Vp.Simple.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

Cde Mahiya,when the time comes everyone ,card carrying member or non ,will all rally behind Vp.Zanu is too big to be manipulated by j.moyo a nd kasukuwere.Dont be surprised to find J.Moyo personally and vigorously supporting Ngwena.He is a political turncoat,he turns blue when h wants to.To suit the invironment.So dont waste yo energy on g40 s shinanigans.They will vanish in time.Carryon supporting the partyIts yos.Yu nearly died for Zanu.A full warvet ,yu want to cry wth little kasukuwere n j.moyo?Honstly.I wuldnt.The whole central commete is solidly behind yu.We ,the warvets are the central commette.We run Zanu.So dont stress.Concentrate our structures on the looming zanu changes and election.Campaign for the obviouse .I am.Ngwena is all the name here in Mutoko.When I came here last yr ,I have done wonders.When Ngwena comes to Mutoko centre it will be party time.Yu must invite Ngwena for our next meeting,warvets.Usatye.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

@teten Viola, we do not want ZANU PF as a whole. They brought this misery

Mentalist - 3 January 2017

Who said that we need your ngwena?

The Observer - 3 January 2017

@viola gwena - Are you not tired of singing this Ngwena-Zanu song? Honestly its difficult for me to imagine any sane person (who is not corruptly gaining from this regime or afraid of retribution for past crimes) to keep supporting the ruining,corrupt and murderous Zanu PF.

Diego - 3 January 2017

zanu pf remains the only people centred party in the country,the p[arty will nt be voted out of power on the dailynews platform,in the first half of the year whenm bondnotes were mooted i predicted their success as their introduction was backed by strong economic fundamentals and a vision to stimulate exports,the 'usuals' could not stop groaning,now the vendors are transacting,those on the margins of the economy are getting included,my plea to all zimbos in 2017 is lets all rally behind the govt ,lets rally behind the president and lets all rally behind VP ngwena as president mugabe appointed him to run govt business,he has displayed flashes of brilliance and if we forgave the whitemen for colonial injustices lets also forgive ngwena who is forced to bear the misjudgements of immediate post independence even though decisions in govt are made as a collective

truth - 3 January 2017

All Zimbabweans should read time signs, Mugabe is done, unite and force him out through ballot box during the next elections, replace him with energetic thoughts, bring back on track the devastated, country , otherwise unless you change your minds in this century, don't blame anyone for your poor thinking to develop your country which now is sinking like a shi in the ocean.

George - 3 January 2017

My suggestion: for a Post Mugabe country; (1) that we promulgate policies that encourage the coming in of foreigners of the professional and entrepreneurial classes in particular. (2) that the gvment focusses on infrastructural development (3) a capitalist culture is adopted, encouraged and vigorously pursued and the development of a strong middle class. (4) a science-academic-techno culture is adopted to and vigorously pursued even at considerable expense to the state.(5) a culture of human rights is equally prioritise. Guys as Africans, we seem to be lagging behind.

maombo david - 3 January 2017

Yes I remember those bond arguments ,Truth.Some guy expanding on Greshams law vs Thiers law.To this day no good money has been driven out.Bond is complimenting the US currency on our market.Truth,yu explained this very well.Government is there for us ,all of us citizens.We can choose to support it or play Bubu the fool .Its choices.Zanu will come together and forcus on economy ,trust me on that.Come 2018 we all unite ,zanu.Fights stop .Yu all saw it when 200 000 zanu pple came together,lacoste,g40 ,non aligned.We assembled like mapostori.Unity.I also wuld like mdc to unite and put up a formidable struggle for their course.That is good for the country.Unity of purpose.So we can have another GNU.We are heading there.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

Tete Viola, give us sensible updates in the people's favourite party about this new kid on the block. "Lachicks" Whats the story ? "Lacoste" , "Lachicks" ???? Soon ;'LaTruth' , 'La Viola' ... Very comic; this determination to implement ZIMASSET with fresh 'norme de gueres' like ZIMASSET is a war front of its own.

Observer - 3 January 2017

Kkkkk @Observer.Nice one.I culd crack a rib or 2 ,mate.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

For Zimbabwe to have any fighting chance it needs to get rid of the these vultures called Zanu (Lacoste, G40 and all the splinter formations) and the zanu aligned war veterans body headed by this Mahiya fellow and the moz panty stealer.

Galore - 4 January 2017

@mdidi Viola and msunu truth l wonder if u are Zimbabwean at all of which if are , u are either spooks who were baptized in ZANU imperialism . lf u lived in Zim or if u were Zimbos u would c the suffering human fodder to a least admit to that ZANU has failed. But because liyimdidi yabantu ende lingama CIO liyasutha zinja. Mdidi yenu mani

Ndoda - 6 January 2017

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