War vets divided over Heroes Day

HARARE - War veterans — who have previously acted as the anchor pieces in Zanu PF’s mass mobilisation activities — are divided over the Heroes Day commemorations scheduled for today.

In the past, Zanu PF’s critics have gone to town, accusing the ruling party of sidelining those with divergent views from the Heroes and Defence Forces Day commemorations.

The chorus of disapproval is, however, getting louder, with a section of the war veterans led by Christopher Mutsvangwa lending its weight behind the dissenting voices.

The ex-liberation war fighters expressed divergent views yesterday over commemorations, with Mutsvangwa’s Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) saying they cannot embarrass themselves by associating with an event that has been reduced to a private Zanu PF function.

ZNLWVA national political commissar, Francis Nhando, said even though Mugabe had “hijacked” the day, he and others who participated in the bush war know and still remember the genuine heroes.

“The revolution was hijacked during the war when the likes of Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara died. The whole leadership, which had Zimbabwe at heart, is no longer there. Most of the real war veterans are being sidelined by Mugabe and his Generation 40 (G40),” he said.

“People are saying we must come to the celebrations, but Zanu PF is divided. We have the support of over 80 percent (of the party’s supporters) while Mugabe and G40 have only less than 20 percent.”

G40 is one of the two factions in Zanu PF fiercely opposed to the prospect of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe.

There is no love lost between G40 and ZNLWVA, which is rooting for Mnangagwa to ascend to the high-pressure job.

But another faction of the war veterans led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene is rallying the ex-combatants to pour out in their numbers to commemorate those who gave up their lives for Zimbabwe to be free.

Chimene’s deputy, George Mlala, said people must bury their differences and come out in their numbers to celebrate Heroes Day.

“We don’t want to forget about this day. People must sit down and discuss the issue of the liberation. If we have different opinions, we must put them aside and celebrate together,” he said.

“Our gallant fighters died before this issue of quarrels and factionalism. We must respect the day. All war veterans and people of Zimbabwe must celebrate this day,” he added.

Mutsvangwa’s ZNLWVA is increasingly drifting away from the ruling party and gravitating towards the opposition.

Last week, Mutsvangwa’s ZNLWVA stated publicly that they will support the MDC if it revives its attempts to impeach Mugabe.

Zanu PF’s rivals insisted this week that the event has been reduced to a get-together for Zanu PF members, who have long abandoned the ideals of the country’s liberation.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC said most of the country’s ex-liberation fighters were living in squalor and surviving on crumbs, while a few are having it all.

Party’s spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said while Heroes Day is a special day on the country’s calendar, Zimbabwe has allowed fake revolutionaries and liberation war deserters to define the country’s vision and trajectory as a nation.

“This is very sad and depressing”, he said, adding that Zimbabweans must “respect and salute the genuine heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate sacrifice to free us”.

“We should appreciate that heroism is a virtue and not a borrowed robe that one is bestowed with by the powers-that-be. As a people, we have trashed and bastardised the notion of heroism by celebrating mediocrity and chicanery.

“Criminals, murderers and rapists have been described as heroes and heroines at the expense of genuine liberators and war veterans. The struggle has been hijacked by latter day revolutionaries and political impostors. Genuine heroes and heroines must surely be turning in their graves,” Gutu said.

Former vice president Joice Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, said there was nothing to celebrate.

“It’s unfortunate that Zimbabwe has nothing to celebrate about the heroic things did by the sons and daughters to dislodge the colonial regime,” he said.

Comments (1)

The presidency of Zimbabwe is not a "high pressure" job, no. It is a "high pleasure" job. "High" because you gots to fly anywhere anytime. "Pleasure" because you gots to hit as much tax payer dollars as possible when you fly out. You don't have to work, think, focus or deliver anything except rigging election figures chete. You can even sleep for 12 months there won't be any difference, some will even vouch with their lives that you are alert and fit as a fiddle (which you need to remain upright) right? You could even extend the holiday to 37 years. Just read the occasional speech to fake presence of mind that's all. Pressure? What pressure?

Sagitarr - 16 August 2017

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