War vets back coalition

Source: War vets back coalition – DailyNews Live

Fungi Kwaramba      2 June 2017

HARARE – War veterans have thrown their weight behind the mooted
opposition coalition, saying they hope it could provide solutions to the
country’s myriad problems, including their poor welfare.

This comes as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai – the kingmaker of the
opposition parties’ alliance ahead of 2018 elections – has been holding
private meetings with ex-liberation fighters and top military officials in
a bid to rope them to his side.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya
said the former freedom fighters will back the coalition if “it supports
the principle of the liberation struggle”.

Asked whether war veterans back the idea of the mooted grand coalition,
which many believe would end President Robert Mugabe’s long rule, Mahiya
said the ex-combatants firmly believe in the will of the people.

“If the coalition follows the principles that people died for, then it is
fine because that is what we all strived for,” he said.

Mahiya said as things stand, there is no bad blood between them and
93-year-old Mugabe.

Following some tension, there has been thawing of frosty relations between
war veterans and Mugabe of late.

With Mugabe set to address a youth rally today, Mahiya said war veterans
who are inclined to Zanu PF are free to join the event – pencilled for
Marondera – as long as there is no use of force or intimidation.

“War veterans belong to the nation and not Zanu PF. They are free to make
their choices. As for me I am free to go to any rally of my choice. But
you must remember we have no bad blood with anyone, we may have issues
that the government is not looking into our interests but that does not
mean we have a war with the president,” he said.

In the past, Zanu PF youths and war veterans, for long the ruling party’s
foot soldiers, have clashed as they have been rooting for different
factions in the unending succession wars ripping apart the former
liberation movement.

Since the war veterans’ acrimonious break-up with Zanu PF last year, the
ruling party youths, led by Kudzanai Chipanga, have been firing missiles
at the former freedom fighters, who were pushing Mugabe to step down.

“The youths were the ones who were attacking us. We have never attacked
the president but what we want is for our welfare to be looked into as
provided by the Constitution. If Zanu PF really liked war veterans, they
should have taken care of us,” Mahiya said.

“We are waiting for what they have to say about people like (Zanu PF
political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere who is destroying the party at the
rally tomorrow (today).

“Our concern is that if the youths continue on such a path, they will be
chaos in this country. The youths need training. If only they accepted us,
we would be leading the party, they will follow. They must follow the
principles that we have laid,” said Mahiya.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has on several occasions assured the former freedom
fighters that they will be secure under his rule, insisting that the land
reform programme will not be reversed.

“I have met with the church, political leaders from across the spectrum,
the army, war veterans, civil servants and leaders of various social
networks and civic groups who all converge on the need for a positive
trajectory for this country that we love,” said Tsvangirai.