PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s position as patron of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) will come under the microscope as the former freedom fighters begin a nationwide consultative process tentatively set to begin next month.
Source: Mugabe’s position as war vets patron under scrutiny – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 27, 2016
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
According to the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, the former freedom fighters are now looking for financiers to begin the process that could officially end Mugabe’s relationship with his wartime comrades.
“The ZNLWVA met on Thursday and decided to go back to basics. By this we mean going back to the people to explain the country’s political, social and economic situation. We want to meet our members as well as Zimbabweans in general to explain our position going forward,” Mahiya said.
He said also top of the agenda will be Mugabe’s position as patron of the former fighters.
“Our relationship with Zanu PF is determined by those in power but as far as we understand it, they have indicated that they do not want to see any genuine war veteran. This can be seen by efforts and manoeuvres to remove anyone associated genuinely with the liberation struggle from every structure of Zanu PF including the presidium,” Mahiya said without mentioning names.
War veterans have been clear they now want Mugabe to step down as Zanu PF leader and pave way for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. But a faction of the ruling party called G40 is viciously opposed to Mnangagwa’s ascendency to the throne.
Reports abound that the group is pushing hard to force Mugabe to turn the ruling party’s annual conference set for Masvingo in December into an elective congress where Mnangagwa could be pushed over the cliff.
Mahiya said while the former freedom fighters are struggling with finding the money required to fund their activities they would want to begin consultations next month.
“Our plan is that once we are done with the nationwide consultations with our membership and the populace, we would want to convene a national conference for all civic organisations across the board to seek solutions to the problems our country is faced with,” Mahiya said.
“Zimbabweans deserve true freedom, that which they fought for. The freedom they sacrificed everything they had is yet to come and we have a duty to begin a process of reclaiming that. Discussions must now begin”.
Mugabe’s relationship with the former freedom fighters has hit an all-time low beginning with an emotive meeting early this year where the ruling party’s politburo was accused by the war veterans of usurping the powers of the central committee.
However, the situation boiled over following the release of a damning communiqué by the war veterans that urged Mugabe to resign accusing him of dictatorship.
Mugabe reacted angrily and rounded up senior ZNLWVA leaders and locked them up for “insulting” him. Five of them are now on bail awaiting trial on allegations associated with the writing of the communiqué.