via Mugabe misled: War vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 6, 2016
President Robert Mugabe is surrounded by regime change agents, who want to protect their ill-gotten wealth, war veterans have alleged ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with the 92-year-old leader.
by ELIAS MAMBO/EVERSON MUSHAVA
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said the former freedom fighters were not baying for Mugabe’s blood, as was being alleged by the G40 faction in Zanu PF, but merely wanted to protect the President.
“We do not want to remove President Mugabe from power. We are very much aware that the President was elected after we campaigned vigorously,” he said.
“There is no way the war veterans can push out their patron and there is no way a group of arrivistes (over-ambitious, self-seeking new political arrivals) can claim to protect the President more than the securocrats, who have always done so.”
Matemadanda alleged Mugabe was now surrounded by a group of pretenders eager to remove him from power.
“(Higher Education minister) Jonathan Moyo is on record, and we have videos, where he is saying the only way to destroy Zanu PF is from within,” Matemadanda claimed, although the Tsholotsho North legislator has maintained he has never said this.
“He is on record urging the world to punish the Mugabe regime and now he claims to be strongly behind Mugabe.
“Shadreck Mashayamombe told Mugabe that (First Lady) Grace Mugabe will not be accepted in Harare.
The President had to warn everyone that Harare is for everyone. We are all aware that Kudzi Chipanga is a Gamatox (the pejorative label for the expelled faction led by ousted former Vice-President Joice Mujuru) to the bare bones. He confessed recently at a Mazowe rally that he was now behind Mugabe after the youth league wanted to push him out.”
Matemadanda said most of the officials who were being loud in Zanu PF did not love Mugabe.
“They are making a lot of noise yet we know they have hidden agendas. They want to disturb our meeting on Thursday (tomorrow) by making rogue statements in the media,” he continued.
“Take stock of them and you will see they are all land barons and businessmen who have abused the party to accumulate wealth.”
Other war veterans said they were aware of moves by G40 to muzzle them from expressing their views to Mugabe at tomorrow’s meeting, but vowed to explore various avenues to reach the veteran leader with their concerns.
Some war veterans, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said even if they were blocked, that would not signal their end and they would find a way to reach Mugabe either at the meeting or some time later.
They said they suspected the meeting would not genuinely address the concerns of the former freedom fighters, but would be used to remove war veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa.
“We know G40 does not want us to have a direct interface with President Mugabe for us to express our views, but we will find a way. We are not afraid to express our views,” a war veteran said.
“We are aware that G40 is driving the whole process and it will be more of a Zanu PF meeting than our platform to express our concerns. That is why they limited our number from 35 000 to only 10 000, they don’t want us to be more powerful.”
The relationship between Mugabe and the war veterans has been turbulent in the past few weeks, with the veteran leader accusing the former fighters of mobilising for his ouster.
War veterans, on the other hand, have been challenging Mugabe to rein in his wife and the G40 faction, but he has said he will not bow to the demands of an affiliate body.
“We even thought that other war veterans like former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, Jabulani Sibanda and Dumiso Dabengwa, who are no longer in Zanu PF, should attend, as it was a meeting of war veterans. They are still war vets and nothing will take that from them,” another war veteran said.
“But as you know, we are under siege, things were just offered to us to take; we cannot challenge that as it would be viewed as confrontation.
“Our fellow comrades outside Zanu PF should understand that we are with them, but we are under siege. What is happening is beyond our control.”
A preliminary meeting will start today, with war veterans expected to be broken into thematic groups on welfare, politics and the economy, among others, and then it will go into a plenary session, where their concerns will be noted and be presented to Mugabe tomorrow.
There are limited chances the war veterans will have a direct chance to interface with their patron.
Mutsvangwa, whom they said would be a target at the meeting, will deliver the welcoming remarks, according to the programme.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya declined to comment on the matter, opting to say they hoped to have an opportunity to express their concerns to Mugabe.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, who is co-ordinating tomorrow’s meeting, could not be reached for comment.