ZIMBABWE is in danger of a civil insurrection if the persecution of former freedom fighters and hate language is not curtailed, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa has warned.
Mutsvangwa, a former War Veterans minister, was reacting to a government crackdown on war veterans in the fall-out that has followed his association’s issuing of a damning communiqué calling on President Robert Mugabe to resign.
“The violence in that language is totally uncalled for in a State that aspires to be a modern constitutional republic. Even unpleasant views should be entertained unless they carry with them the threat of illicit armed enforcement,” he said.
“To invoke the danger of armed mutiny among people that were demobilised and disarmed nearly four decades ago and are in their 60s is just misplaced.”
Police this week swooped on ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, laying siege on his Chitungwiza home in a four-hour blockade, before he handed himself over.
Reports also said secretary-general Victor Matemadanda had also been picked up in Gokwe, but there was confusion on his whereabouts.
“Neither Mahiya nor Matemadanda had any arms of war nor access to them to justify comparison to wartime mutinies as referred to in emotive rhetoric yesterday (Wednesday),” Mutsvangwa said.
Mugabe was left reeling after the war veterans issued a stinging rebuke accusing the 92-year-old Zanu PF strongman of rights abuses, dictatorial tendencies and running to the ground a once thriving economy.
After a few days of uncertainty, Mugabe convened a hastily-arranged gathering of the Zanu PF youth league with support from a splinter group of the former freedom fighters led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene.
Mugabe then issued a chilling warning to the leaders of the war veterans and indicated he would employ the same tactics his former guerilla movement used on those who tried to rebel against his leadership at the height of the bush war that brought independence.
“We would keep them (rebels) in underground burrows like mice, and feed them just enough to survive. We could do the same in independent Zimbabwe,” he said.
While historians have documented brutal killings and executions, Mugabe claimed “we did not kill anyone”.
The war veterans also accused Mugabe of genocidal tendencies and called on the Zanu PF leader to show remorse for the Gukurahundi massacres rather than revel in them.
“He (Mugabe) should be extending honestly remorseful regret over this foul deed, yet he appears to extol this as some macabre virtue. His continued resort to genocidal language should worry every right-thinking citizen, as to his true nature. This is unacceptable to the memories of those who perished during this time (liberation war),” the communiqué read in part.
Mutsvangwa called for sober reflection and guarded action, adding the threat to Mugabe’s administration was not from any quarter, but a dying economy.
“Let us conduct ourselves like a nation that fought one of Africa’s thoroughly modern wars. We have a historical record of cogent threat analysis,” he said.
“Mahiya and his spirited words do not pose any threat to the Zimbabwe body politic. The threat comes from a prostrate economy and the perversity of G40 economic illiteracy.” newsday