Tuesday, 14 June 2016


WAR veterans across the political divide are planning an audacious “coalition” to force President Robert Mugabe “to tell us where he wants to take this country” NewsDay has learnt.

Mugabe last week accused war veterans of dabbling in dissident activities by declaring Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as his successor.

This angered the 92-year-old leader who immediately threatened to crush them in the same way he handled the dissident insurgency in the 1980s.

Although intricate details of the war veterans’ plan were still sketchy, insiders revealed that Mugabe’s description of the former freedom fighters as “dissidents” has pushed the war veterans to the wall.

Bernard Manyadza, a former Zanla commander and senior member of the Joice Mujuru-led opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), yesterday said it was important that war veterans worked together to dislodge Mugabe.

“We are ready to work with all war veterans because our vision as we fought the war was for a free and democratic Zimbabwe. We are surprised that Mugabe now wants to confine war veterans to a charity organisation,” said Chinyadza, also known by his nom de guerre, Parker Chipoyera.

Insiders within the ex-fighters’ ranks said Mugabe had stirred a hornet’s nest.

“War veterans created Zanu PF and elected Mugabe leader. For some reason, he wants to turn around and claim they have no right to discuss the country’s political direction,” a top former freedom fighter who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

“It is astounding that this man wants to circumvent the laws of nature in which naturally people plan for tomorrow and wants us to just sit and watch him die in office without a plan as to what will happen tomorrow. It does not work, like that.”

Ex-Zipra fighter Moses Mzila-Ndlovu concurred, but would not commit to working with Zanu PF-linked former freedom

“I agree that Mugabe has betrayed the ideals of the liberation struggle, but he has always been like that. The Zanu PF war veterans trust Mugabe into the leadership and have an obligation to remove him. But I think it’s a bridge too far now. They have realised it rather too late that Mugabe is anti-people and has created institutions that serve his personal interests,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya declined to speak on the issue.

“We have said we are consulting because we did not attend the central committee. We do not just comment on hearsay,” he said.

But a group linked to the G40 faction in Zanu PF defended Mugabe’s tough stance against the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA.

The group’s de facto leader, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene, said: “I said it in the past and people thought I was mad. This whole thing confirms what we have seen and said in the past.”

Her sidekick George Mlala agreed.

“We (war veterans) are the children of Zanu PF and during the war, we only served as the military wing. We are still maintaining our position that the party is supreme and those who think they can change the leadership system are just being renegades,” he said. newsday


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