HARARE – War veterans are set to meet next week in Harare to push that President Robert Mugabe be challenged at the elective Zanu PF congress scheduled for December.
The meeting by war veterans — tentatively set for next week Friday — comes amid deepening political tensions, with all Zanu PF provinces resolving last weekend that Mugabe’s position as the party’s president and first secretary shall not be challenged.
The war veterans were the first to clamour for an elective special Zanu PF congress, with the ruling party leadership only agreeing to the call at its politburo meeting last week.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson Chris Mutsvangwa, confirmed the developments saying the meeting would take place at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare.
“War veterans have taken a position to call for a meeting … to meet in Highfield urgently for a public declaration of their position,” Mutsvangwa told the Daily News.
“The meeting will also review recent political activities, statements and developments within Zanu PF and war veterans as well as lay out the war veterans’ response (to the Zanu PF congress pronouncement) and outline our programme of action,” he said.
He said war veterans — who have remained starkly aligned to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa despite the fact that he is apparently out of favour with Mugabe — would fight to the end despite the fact that their top leadership was expelled from the party.
The ZNLWVA was purged last year for supporting Mnangagwa’s presidential bid, but they have stubbornly continued to poke their noses in the affairs of the ruling party, describing themselves as “stockholders” of the revolutionary movement.
Mutsvangwa said the war veterans are determined to frustrate efforts by Generation 40 (G40), a camp in Zanu PF which is vehemently opposed to Mnangagwa.
“The aim is to end up with no war veterans at all in all the party and government organs and, by that, the lifelong dream and achievement of destroying Zanu PF from within would have been accomplished.
“This agenda, and certainly, cannot be Jonso’s (Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo) alone.
“There must be at least one bird of a feather with Jonso, in the crowd and war veterans believe they know who this bird of a feather is. So their position is to mobilise all those who are being discriminated, to resist this agenda against them, by a combination of actions, legal action and or mass action led by the war veterans,” he said.
“A call by the war veterans is for the people of Zimbabwe to stand guard against the possible abuse of State machinery to advance a G40 factional agenda. The ideal situation would be for Zanu PF to have an elective special congress before the 2018 elections, so that the party can elect a new leader to represent the party in those elections,” Mutsvangwa said.
The ZNLWVA has previously said the only way they could support Mugabe’s candidature in next year’s elections would be if he wins an internal election at congress.
They also said if this was not the case, they would find another candidate to support and threatened to viciously campaign against Mugabe.