Fungi Kwaramba 18 July 2017
HARARE – Disgruntled liberation war fighters are on the verge of forming a
new political party whose leader would contest their former patron –
President Robert Mugabe – at next year’s elections.
The war veterans have grown increasingly disillusioned with Zanu PF’s rule
and the fact that they are no longer at the centre of the party’s scheme
of things that they now want to form a movement that will contest for
In previous polls, they were the de-facto political commissars for Zanu
PF, especially in rural areas.
Informed sources told the Daily News that the war veterans have been
meeting behind the scenes with the mission of forming their own political
party, something that could happen this week.
A proposal has been put on the table to launch the party on the
foundations of the now fragmented Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), whose
inaugural leader was Joice Mujuru, the former vice president.
Mujuru abandoned ZPF following its split last year and is now the interim
leader of the National People’s Party, which is still to make an impact on
the country’s political landscape.
A war veteran, Thomas Chitauro, who is privy to the developments, told the
Daily News yesterday that a communique would be issued in due course,
announcing the formation of the party.
“We are coming up with something and working with war veterans across the
board. At the moment, I cannot say much but will inform you in due
course,” said Chitauro.
According to sources, the daring war veterans even approached some top
army officials intending to update their wartime comrades of the
“We wanted to make (Chris) Mutsvangwa the leader of the political
movement, but he has not committed himself. We are also looking at Rugare
Gumbo to lead the movement. At one point, emissaries were send to sound
the army but they were turned away as it was deemed that the army’s
involvement would be tantamount to coup,” said the source.
Mutsvangwa is the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).
He was fired from government and Zanu PF last year.
While Mutsvangwa was not picking up his cell phone yesterday and did not
respond to messages sent to him, Gumbo confirmed to the Daily News that he
has heard about the new war veterans’ movement.
“I have heard that comrades want to form their own thing but I will be
able to shed more light later this week,” said Gumbo.
ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda could neither deny nor confirm
that a new party was about to be formed by former freedom fighters.
He was, however, quick to point out that since they have been ostracised
from the ruling party, it was only prudent for them to form their own
“I cannot confirm or deny that because war veterans are many but, as the
association, we will remain as we are. There is no point in forming
another structure (although) comrades who are in the association are free
to form their party,” said Matemadanda.
“However, the move by war veterans to form their own party shows that
comrades are now losing confidence in Zanu PF. This is because Zanu PF is
good at using people. Comrades want to form something of their own
because, as Mugabe said, they have no place in Zanu PF. Comrades do not
see their roles in Zanu PF apart from that of (getting their) welfare
(issues attended to), as Mugabe said. The question is: Can it be a country
that does not respect those who were at the warfront? They are using
criminals when war veterans are there. We are in a crisis situation as far
as Zimbabwe is concerned,” said Matemadanda.
Since serving Mugabe with divorce papers last year, war veterans, once the
anchor of the ruling party rule, have turned to critics of the status quo.
Most frustrating for the war veterans is that their preferred candidate to
succeed Mugabe, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not had his way –
prompting them to mull forming their own party.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told the Daily News yesterday that they
have become so fed up with the status quo in Zanu PF that they are mulling
forming a new political movement that espouses the founding values of the
country’s liberation struggle.
Until last year when relations between ZNLWVA and Mugabe reached the
lowest ebb – the later was the patron of the association that includes
most but not all of the country fighters of the liberation war.
Mahiya said Zanu PF has used patronage as a weapon to push a non
revolutionary dynastic agenda.
“War veterans have little or no time before they are erased from history.