'War vets must sign new covenant with people'

HARARE - War veterans must re-engage with the people if they want to be respected again, MDC deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada has said.

The veterans have been President Robert Mugabe’s core loyalists since the country’s 1970s liberation war against white rule, often using violence to crush the opposition.

“The war vets must sign a new covenant with the people and become a national institution not a partisan institution.

“Therefore their livelihoods and needs would be better addressed if they stand out as a non-partisan institution only loyal to Zimbabwe

“It is in their best interest that they never again be used as purveyors of violence by Zanu PF or any political party for that matter,” he said.

The former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister accused the war veterans of causing the current economic problems.

“It took the late Chenjerai Hunzvi and war vets many months of demonstrations that forced ... Mugabe to bow to their demands in 1997. After that pay-out, war vets got into bed with Zanu PF and spearheaded a violent land invasion campaign in 2000,” the MDC secretary for finance and economic affairs said.

In 1997, former freedom fighters staged demonstrations forcing government to capitulate and give them Z$50 000 each as gratuity for taking part in the 15-year bush war that ushered in independence in 1980.

“Then in the 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008 elections war vets were unleashed on defenceless citizens,” he said.

“It is a fact that war vets as an institution killed and maimed many defenceless people in order to keep Zanu PF in power.”

Mashakada said their “Damascene moment” came after the expulsion of Chris Mutsvangwa.

“Is this a case of sour grapes or a genuine repentance and realisation that they were being used against the people while their welfare was put on the back burner?

“I think war vets should learn their lessons and never again be used to fight the people.”

War veterans have openly protested Mugabe’s dictatorship and abandonment of the values of the liberation struggle and the very people who gave their life fighting for freedom and independence.

They served the nonagenarian with divorce papers, after they released a damning communiqué against him mid last year.

Comments (6)

I concur with former minister and add as follows; In their seeking a new covenant with the people they must acquaint themseleves with the fact that everybody suffered during that bush war especially defenseless rural folks who not only lost lifestock feeding them guerillas but also infrastracture (roads, schools diptanks etc) which the same guerillas destroyed - through shallow thinking sabotage tactics during the war - and has never been restored. No special status when the national cake is being distributed.

Sinyo - 26 April 2017

They have squandered whatever capital they had, they can sign a new covenant to clear out with their zanu mafia.

Galore - 26 April 2017

What a master stroke but stating naked known truth! Now they want Mnangagwa take over from Mugabe; the question then is, do they have an agenda for the people or their selfish parochial and, narrow interests. I don't see how relevant these evil machines (those in leadership) can reconnect with the people because they were never part of the people during the struggle. It was outright brutality throughout the struggle; Gukurahundi and post 2000! I still love them though.

Save - 26 April 2017

I do not want to sound optimistic but I would like to say something in relation to some warvets. People like mutsvangwa are like confused cockroaches, he doesn't know what he wants that guy. One would think that he has repented, the next thing he is singing zanu pf which disowned him and the other thing I have noticed is that his faction (mutsvangwa) has already picked up its own replacement of Mugabe= munangagwa, insteady of living it to one man one vote. If there is to be a meaningful change in Zimbabwe people like munangagwa and all old folks need to be retired forever because nothing new is going to come out of them, end of.

nhemacena - 26 April 2017

There is a lot of confusion among the "war vets" most of it emanating from ignorance but driven by selfishness. Both characteristics are abundant in Zanu PF and their "leadership" exploits these to meet their ends. I am left with respect for no one in Zanu PF as things currently stand. Nobody in the entire party inspires me at all no matter how "educated" they may appear to be.

Sagitarr - 27 April 2017

which ppl are u talking abt really?Perhaps u might say some ppl not pple in general bec the warvets are already with the people since the liberation struggle.Millions & millions of rural pple who were at forefront when they take land are still with the warvets

addmore gudo - 27 April 2017

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