Vets rave up the heat on Mugabe

HARARE - Clearly emboldened by the apparent collapse of the centre in President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF, angry war veterans are piling on the pressure on the increasingly frail nonagenarian, with their leaders now sensationally describing the 92-year-old as the “enemy of the people”.

This comes as the disaffected war veterans, who have been feuding with Mugabe since the parties’ highly publicised fallout last year, have surprisingly thrown their weight behind the quest by opposition parties to establish a grand coalition — to turf the nonagenarian out of power — ahead of next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

At the same time, the disgruntled former freedom fighters have also reiterated their strong belief that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the only senior Zanu PF official worthy of succeeding Mugabe, as the ruling party’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars continue to escalate.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) national political commissar Francis Nhando said Mugabe was “guilty” of allowing his lieutenants and powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe to challenge his two deputies — Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — to the detriment of Zanu PF and the country.

“When you see the president protecting corrupt officials in the G40 (Zanu PF’s Generation 40 faction), it makes him the enemy of the people. They abuse their offices pursuing activities that border on sabotage, which has led Zimbabweans to frown upon the party.

“In reality, Mugabe is in jail and needs deliverance through being advised to leave power now and rest. State House has been infiltrated, especially when you consider that it is at State House that a Zanu PF women’s league secretary who claims to be a senior to the vice presidents resides,” he said.

Mugabe and the seriously unhappy former freedom fighters have been exchanging brickbats since their stunning fallout 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.

This week, the war veterans also threw their weight behind the quest by opposition parties to establish a grand coalition ahead of next year’s eagerly-awaited national polls.

ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said they supported the formation of the mooted coalition alliance because they were of the view that this would work in the interest of long-suffering 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.

“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,” Mahiya said earlier in the week.

Addressing the media in Harare late last year, forthright former Cabinet minister and ZNLWVA chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, also said Mugabe owed ex-combatants big time as they were the ones who had made him president, not Zanu PF.

“It was us who sat and made sure that Mugabe became the leader when the need to change leadership arose. We are the ones who sold his name to the people. It is not from the founding fathers (that this happened).

“We sold his and (the late vice president) Joshua Nkomo’s name to every village. It is the liberation army that made the leadership of Zimbabwe, not the other way round. He (Mugabe) is a beneficiary of the decisions we made when we deposed (Zanu founder Ndabaningi) Sithole,” he said.

“We will never fear anything in this country because the most fearful thing which existed was called Ian Smith and we defeated him. After Ian Smith, we don’t fear anything,” the former War Veterans minister thundered defiantly.

Speaking before that, Mutsvangwa also chided Mugabe’s administration while addressing youths on lessons from the liberation struggle.

“Anybody who is not for progress is your enemy because he (Mugabe) is failing this economy to deliver its capacity to make it the most prosperous country in Africa,” he said.

In serving their divorce papers on Mugabe last July, the war veterans also said Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding almost churlishly that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he ever contemplated contesting the 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.

After this, police duly launched a savage crackdown against the war vets leadership and arrested five officials, including ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, Mahiya and Nhando, who were recently set free by the courts.

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.

Analysts have also predicted that Mugabe will not win the 2018 polls without the support of the war veterans, while on their part the ex-combatants have vowed that they will vote for an opposition candidate if the nonagenarian stands in those elections.

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 (4)

trust these so called warvets at your own peril,these warvets have shown beyond doubt that if indeed they have issues,then the issues are petty,they have an obsession with the so called G40 and are also obsessed with cde ED succeeding,given their record,only a moron would take them seriously,their behaviour is proof of their poor training and evidence that thy never saw combat,we all know mutsvangwa absconded from the then university of rhodesia in 1977 and joined true comrades in moza,if the warvets want us to take them seriously,they must must their obsession with personalities and bring forward issues

truth - 4 January 2017

makaramba wani kuti nyika haitorwe ne ball point, vamwe venyu vakati hamusalute munhu asina kuenda kuhondo. Ko akaenda kuhondo aipa chii futi.You guys invested too much power on this guy, he is doing as he so feels because you trusted heavily in him. In 1983 Kombayi saw otherwise but you even tried to kill him, today you see it you and cry like babies, complaining wont change anything take action. You fought the British from nothing why can't you fight Mugabe now.

chamubhurukwa - 4 January 2017

Al pple including the war vets hav the same thoughts that president Mugabe must leave office now.Itz wrong for the g40-Grace Mugabe's zanu pf faction to force the old man to contest the 2018 elections when itz almost unlikely.Grace&her group hav comandeered all the party's provinces to endorse Mugabe's candidature &hopefully hope to use the youth militants to force Mugabe win, but hopefully the war veterans are not on their side this time round.Their methods of sending men &rural chiefs to frogmarch rural folks to the ballot box is likely to face challenges next year kkkkk!

addmore gudo - 5 January 2017

Its truly amazing to hear "war vets" now saying people should vote for anyone they want. They killed and maimed many people defending Mugabe & Zanu PF and forcing voters to vote for Zanu PF. What has changed now? That they have been fired from Zanu PF? If they truly fought for one man one vote why did they kill & maim voters all along?

Sagitarr - 6 January 2017

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