Embattled Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has reached out to war veterans, saying he was willing to engage them following the nasty fallout where the freedom fighters were now pushing for his ouster from the ruling party.
The latest developments followed claims by war veterans that efforts to mend the rifts were being frustrated by Kasukuwere.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told NewsDay early this week that they always wanted to engage Kasukuwere, but their efforts were hitting a brickwall.
“Our gateway to the party is the political commissar (Kasukuwere), but unfortunately he has not been accommodative of war veterans. He does not think war veterans are part of Zanu PF. War veterans welcomed Kudzai Chipanga’s statements at the million-man march and thought it created a good platform for dialogue and finding each other,” Mahiya said.
“We have tried to approach the commissar, but our efforts have come to naught. We are, however, still seeking other avenues and we do not want to make announcements in the Press about it. When the time comes you will know.”
But Kasukuwere yesterday said: “Let us be honest with each other, I would never refuse to meet anyone. My primary responsibility as political commissar is to try and grow the party and that only happens if we are united and focused. I would never run away or refuse anyone an audience.
“Even if (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai were to come and seek a renewal of his membership, I would listen to him. If the war veterans want to meet, my door is open.”
The former freedom fighters have raised a red flag on Kasukuwere’s conduct as the person in charge of the ruling party’s structures. Following the war veterans’ meeting with President Robert Mugabe in April, they resolved to demand that Kasukuwere be replaced with someone “with liberation war credentials”.
The ZNLWVA also passed a no-confidence vote on Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko Mphoko.
Kasukuwere has also reportedly made unpalatable comments about war veterans at one time describing them as “taxi drivers and drunkards”.
Mahiya accused Mphoko of failing to understand war veterans’ concerns despite claiming to have been part of the liberation struggle.
“We do not understand Mphoko because if he was really part of the struggle, he would understand where we are coming from, he would identify with our sentiments,” Mahiya said.
Mphoko recently caused a storm when he accused war veterans of committing “treason” after they declared Mnangagwa as their preferred candidate to take over from Mugabe. newsday