HARARE – Angry war veterans yesterday launched a stinging attack on President Robert Mugabe with similar echoes to their infamous communiqué of last year before claiming that they had formed a revolutionary council to take over the affairs of Zanu PF ahead of next year’s elections.
This came out of a joint meeting of ex-combatants from former Zanla and Zipra liberation war fronts who waged a debilitating armed struggle against the Rhodesian minority.
Yesterday, the ex-combatants said they had fired Mugabe from the ‘‘original Zanu PF’’ while claiming rights to the party’s assets, including the towering multi-story party national headquarters located in Harare.
“We are stating in no uncertain terms that we have completely disowned Mugabe. He is no longer one of us. With immediate effect, we are in complete defiance of his leadership of the revolutionary Zanu PF. We are claiming our party and its assets.
“He (Mugabe) is free to go and form his G40 party with his receptionist-cum-wife and the G40 cabal. If he wants, he can resuscitate his Frolizi (Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe) since that was his original and real party,” said Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda while addressing a press conference in the capital, at the end of yesterday’s meeting.
Matemadanda also claimed they had expelled Grace, along with Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, secretary for Information Communication Technology (ICT) Jonathan Moyo, national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and politburo member Patrick Zhuwao, who is also Mugabe’s nephew.
“A revolutionary council/dare rechimurenga chechina/inkundla yomuzabalazo owesine has been formed to guide the revolutionary party in the interim. We shall be regrouping in the next few days to announce the leadership structure of that revolutionary council.
“We state categorically that . . . Mugabe is deceitful; he was never revolutionary. Instead, he is a poster boy for the British South African Company (BSAC) principles that he pretends to hate. He is its darling; hence his knighting by the Queen and his support for the G40 cabal that is sponsored by the remnants of the BSAC.
“As war veterans, we are clear that we are fighting Mugabe and his dynastic cabal that have captured the revolutionary party and in the process have led to an economic meltdown and the general suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,” added Matemadanda said.
The war vets have been backing sacked former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe.
Last year, they issued a scathing communiqué on Mugabe and announced that they had severed their relationship dating back to the days of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.
In that communiqué, the war veterans also said pointedly that Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding almost maliciously that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he ever contemplated contesting next year’s elections.
Mugabe responded by warning them that they would be dealt with severely, including through the use of extra-judicial suppression methods that his former liberation movement incorporated during the country’s independence war — such as incarcerating dissenters in inhuman dungeons where they were forced to live like caged rats.
After this, police duly launched a savage crackdown against the war vets leadership and arrested five officials, including Matemadanda.
Over the years, war veterans have served as Mugabe and Zanu PF’s political power dynamos, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian on the throne in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 national elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.