Source: Finally, war vets have woken up – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 23, 2016
That the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), for long the vanguard of President Robert Mugabe’s rule, have finally seen the light and decided to withdraw their support from the man they had hero-worshipped for decades is a rare feat which should spur like-minded Zimbabweans to coalesce to stop the country from gravitating towards the economic cesspit.
The ZNLWVA’s bravery should be applauded as it is an historic feat in the history of independent Zimbabwe given the former freedom fighters have always been Mugabe’s power base.
What makes the ex-fighters’ declaration a most welcome development is the fact that this came when Mugabe regime’s response to the citizens’ legitimate concerns was dismissive. Yet, these concerns cannot be wished away like that, hence Mugabe must deal with them as a matter of urgency.
From a different perspective one gets the déjà vu feeling that the ex-fighters’ decision came rather too late, when extensive damage has already been done. If looked from another angle it could also be a case of sour grapes.
But, that the war veterans have for long been Mugabe’s foot soldiers should not be a factor here. It is better late than never, they say. Anything that can hasten the demise of the corruption-riddled Zanu PF regime or at the least reform it is most welcome. All this will, however, require a united opposition that is in touch with reality to take advantage and finish off this oppressive rule.
Yes, citizens will not forget easily that war veterans used to prop up Mugabe harassing and beating up people for simply making a political choice they did not agree with. Their folly was believing in their invincibility as war veterans and Mugabe knows they are now a spent force, hence has turned to party women and youths to entrench his grip on power at the next elections.
It is ironic how the war veterans on Thursday spoke of how Mugabe has abandoned the masses, but if the truth be told, all this happened over a long period of time before their very eyes and with their support because they still had access to the crumbs that fell from the high table.
They should have registered their concerns a long time ago when opposition party supporters were being bludgeoned left, right and centre. Yet they opted for silence because they were part of those perpetrating the evil deeds on the President’s behalf.
We knew that one day our ageing ex-fighters would come back to their senses. When ZNLWVA leader Chris Mutsvangwa pushed others out of Zanu PF, we also knew he was simply moving in circles and that the same party would hound him out. We believe Mutsvangwa and many of his colleagues in his league have now learnt their lessons, and the best they thought could do is to turn back to the masses for support.
So, war veterans cannot expect citizens to forget that so quickly, for they knew back then that Mugabe was a security risk driving away potential investment in Zimbabwe.
Is it not strange enough that today they are condemning the Kudzi Chipanga-led million-man march as “ideologically bankrupt [move] organised in honour of a bankrupt leadership” when they were the initiators of such crazy ideas?
Were they not the pioneers of the million-man-march organised by ex-leader Jabulani Sibanda a few years ago to keep the “dictatorial” Mugabe in power? Surely, they can’t call on Mugabe to resign now when they are the ones who were singing he should rule forever, only recently.
Nonetheless, their pronouncement is music to the ear. They have been implicated in dastardly acts supporting Mugabe before.
We however urge citizens to welcome and embrace the ex-fighters for turning against this narcissist who has treated Zimbabweans like foreigners. Pro-democracy movements should celebrate that a key pillar of Mugabe’s regime has dumped him. Zimbabweans have seen enough pain and suffering. The nation should turn a corner and regain its lost pride.