via War vets’ leader savaged by Mugabe 30 October 2014
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Thursday launched a scathing attack on war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda for attempting to block his wife’s rise on the political ladder.
Mugabe attacked Sibanda while addressing hundreds of placard-waving Zanu PF supporters at the party’s headquarters in Harare ahead of a key politburo meeting on Thursday.
The supporters were bussed in to demonstrate solidarity with the veteran leader who has been at the helm of the country since independence from Britain 34 years ago.
Sibanda has over the last few weeks defiantly refused to be part of Grace Mugabe’s “meet-the-people” rallies where the first lady has demanded the ouster of Vice-President Joice Mujuru for plotting a putsch against her 90-year-old husband.
Grace has also accused Mujuru of spearheading corrupt business deals, allegations the vice-president has denied.
Sibanda recently vowed he will not support a “bedroom” coup, in apparent reference to widespread beliefs within and outside Zanu PF that Mugabe was grooming his wife to eventually take over as president.
Not to be opposed … Supporters hold placards backing Grace Mugabe
Speaking ahead of the Zanu PF politburo meeting on Thursday, Mugabe spate venom on Sibanda, who was conspicuous by his absence, saying he was possessed by the Devil’s spirit.
He said the war veterans’ chief was fighting in his enemies’ corner after he had been bought half a dozen vehicles by businessman and Zanu PF Mbire MP, David Butau, a known Mujuru ally.
“Arasa gwara chose. (He has lost the way),” Mugabe said.
“Ko hondo yaari kutaura ihondo yamuka papi yaari kuda kurwa iye iye Jabulani. Saka ndiye ari kuda kuita hondo nemasoja angu! Ko ndingade kuzvionaka kuti ari kuironga rinhi hondo yacho. (What war does he want to fight! He and him alone against my soldiers! I dare him to do so),” Mugabe said to loud cheers from his supporters.
The veteran leader said Sibanda “agarwa nemweya waSatan” (was now possessed by Satan).
Mugabe further accused the outspoken war veterans’ leader of turning himself into a de facto ruler of the country.
He went further to order war veterans to regroup and choose a new leader who is committed to Zanu PF’s revolutionary ideals.
“Saka Jabulani aakutonga muno munyika toti (Can we now say he is the country’s ruler),” Mugabe said after accusing Sibanda of blocking supporters from attending one of the party’s gatherings.
“Jabulani anofunga kuti iye zvaataura, ahh mubati wemheni, because he is just a war veteran.”
Mugabe was interrupted during his speech by agitated supporters who declared that Sibanda was not a genuine war veteran.
“Haasi? He is fake? Saka vana (Joseph) Chinotimba makamubvumirei? (So why did Chinotimba and other war veterans allow him to masquerade as a war veteran)”
The Zanu PF leader said he was aware of internal divisions within his militant support base adding that war veterans who were behind Sibanda’s faction should come forward and openly declare allegiance to the embattled leader.
Chinotimba, who was given the floor during Mugabe’s address to denounce Sibanda, said he and other war veterans were preparing to call for a meeting to oust Sibanda.
“Baba mufanha uyuka, umfana lo,” said a fuming Chinotimba while referring to Sibanda.
Chinotimba said he was among war veterans who were, from the beginning highly opposed, to Sibanda’s ascendancy to the helm of the former fighters’ organisation.
He added that Sibanda had become too powerful to a point of thumping his nose at the late vice-presidents Joseph Msika and John Nkomo, who had raised questions about his liberation war credentials.