via How Mugabe outfoxed war vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 14, 2016
POLITICAL analysts have said President Robert Mugabe outwitted the restive war veterans at the much-touted indaba held last week, while playing down any chances of Zanu PF succession wars receding.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said, while the war veterans had managed to relay their grievances to Mugabe, the 92-year-old leader did not respond to them.
“The fact is that they relayed their grievances and they did it quite emphatically, the response they got from their patron did not address the issues they raised. It is as if he had prepared responses in anticipation of some questions, but this did not meet the questions,” he said.
“In that sense, you could say that the war veterans were out-manoeuvred and were left hanging. But if I was a war veteran, I would have been happy with that ability to communicate and relay a message, because he was there and his ears were open and he was listening. Mugabe now knows that there are issues that he has to address and if he does not, they will remain pending and it will be a luta continua.”
Political analyst and publisher, Ibbo Mandaza, said the war veterans were not any stronger than they were before, insisting they got nothing from the meeting except a promise to have their welfare looked into.
“The only promise they got was that their welfare was being dealt with and nothing in terms of the political aspects was dealt with, chief among their demands that the G40 should be dealt with and (political commissar, Saviour) Kasukuwere dropped,” he said.
Mandaza said Mugabe won the day by setting the agenda of the meeting a week before he returned from a working visit to Japan.
“The old man set the agenda a week before the meeting by telling the war veterans that they are just an association, an affiliate of the party. Chris Mutsvangwa was nowhere in the picture, not even mentioned in passing,” he said.
“He started the meeting by telling them that he had called them and not them calling him to the meeting, so he outwitted them.”
Masunungure said the war was, however, far from over because the issue of succession had been taken off the agenda and now remained outstanding.
“The problem with a high stakes game is that there is no letting off because it’s a winner takes all and, therefore, the two factions will continue to fight. It is a win or lose game because the central issue of succession was ruled out of the discussion,” he said.
United Kingdom-based lawyer, Alex Magaisa said, as always, Mugabe won the day.
“It’s always Mugabe, no one else. The Zanu PF and Zimbabwe show is Mugabe’s show all the time. The war vets may have had their say, but ultimately the winner is Mugabe. He pacified them after tear-gassing them in the first place. It was all much-ado-about-nothing really because at the end he says no one is going to challenge Mugabe. For the war vets, it’s all about self-interest. The war vets did express issues that would favour Ngwena [Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa], but at the end of the day the factions are still balanced. Mugabe, the ultimate puppet master, has played his game and he is the winner,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said Mugabe had played dumb in order to cool down the boiling tempers of his fellow comrades and eventually recorded a win.
“The indaba was much-ado-about-nothing, really. It would appear that the war veterans were out-manouvred and outsmarted by Mugabe. The war veterans presented a litany of demands that cannot be sustained by Zimbabwe’s collapsed economy,” he said.
“Nothing tangible came out of Mugabe’s meeting with the war veterans. For now, the veterans will have to accept that whatever Mugabe wants is what will happen. Up until such a time that the war veterans are bold enough to openly call upon President Mugabe to step down on account of his advanced age and failure to stop the haemorrhaging of the national economy, the status quo shall prevail.”
MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said the meeting was a letdown because the war veterans exposed their greed by bringing demands to get money, instead of freeing the nation from Mugabe’s hold on power.
“The liberators betrayed the nation by not telling Mugabe to resign for the country to recover, there is, therefore, nothing for the nation or the war veterans to celebrate, because the country lost dismally, while Mugabe and his G40 scored,” he said.
“Zanu PF and the war veterans emerged from the meeting more divided than before, especially after the war veterans had hyped the nation so much, but nothing came out.”
“There is need for regime change in Zimbabwe to resuscitate the economy, cater for our heroes of the liberation, compensate the families of those veterans that perished in the struggle and unlock foreign direct investment to create the required jobs. Mugabe used the meeting with the war veterans to fight the Lacoste group, while the country burns.”
Gweru-based lawyer, Brain Dube said the meeting exposed the war veterans as dependents of Mugabe.
“What the meeting eventually achieved was to expose the war veterans as a group of helpless men and women who depend on President Mugabe for their survival,” he said.
It exposed how shallow the war veterans leadership is and how unprincipled they are, as none of them was able to raise contemporary issues affecting them, which include the insults from the First Lady [Grace Mugabe], Saviour Kasukuwere, Kudzai Chipanga and the G40 cabal. They failed to ask why their leaders were fired from their dear party or even ask why they were tear-gassed and beaten up during their meeting.
“It became clear from the deliberations that President Mugabe is the owner of both Zanu PF and national war veterans association and he does what he wants with them and no one can ever challenge him. It became clear also that there is no respect for war veterans at all by President Mugabe and Zanu PF, and that they are viewed only as tools of violence during elections and thereafter they are irrelevant in the core matrix of Zanu PF and government body politics.”
Dube said it was clear the war veterans leadership was unable to stand up for what was right as long as Mugabe was around.
“[War vets secretary general Victor] Matemadanda and Mutsvangwa were helpless and in the cold and were shivering all day and could not stand up and say anything, despite glaring evidence that they had issues with the G40 that they needed addressed,” he said.
“War veterans liberated us from colonial rule, but have not liberated themselves from Mugabe and Zanu PF and remain slaves of the President. War veterans need to be liberated from oppression by President Mugabe and Zanu PF.”