Source: War vets to boycott million-man march – DailyNews Live Mugove Tafirenyika • 3 May 2016
HARARE – War veterans have threatened to boycott the controversial “million-man” march to support President Robert Mugabe against machinations by pro-VP Emmerson Mnangagwa supporters who want the Midlands godfather to take over from the 92-year-old before the 2018 elections.
War veterans said the march being planned by the Zanu PF youth league, had no clear agenda hence they would not support it in views seen as supporting Mnangagwa.
While the youths insist the march is in support of Mugabe, a faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, suspects that it is aimed at protesting against Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told the Daily News yesterday that while his association was prepared to participate in a “progressive march meant to fortify the legacy of the revolution,” they had not been formally informed of the planned march and that they were not aware of its terms of reference.
“We cannot be mobilising our members for a march that we have not been notified of. We only hope it does not confirm what we have always said about the Zanu PF commissariat department in terms of its failure to move the party forward,” Mahiya said, referring to presentations made by war veterans during an indaba with Mugabe last month that the Zanu PF commissariat department must be completely overhauled and led by a person with liberation war credentials.
“We wished for a progressive march that is inclusive but if it is the opposite and seeks to further destroy the party, then it is unfortunate and we are not party to that. We will tell after the march because as it is we are not aware of its motives.
“What the youths must always remember is that today must swallow its pride and accommodate yesterday so that we can have tomorrow.” The ex-combatants accuse Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere of failure to handle the party’s critical department and fomenting the divisions that are threatening to obliterate the former liberation movement.
Zanu PF deputy youth league secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga declined to comment on the war veterans’ threat to boycott the march. He also declined to state why the youth league had not informed the ex-combatants despite being on record saying they would be given a slot to speak on the day.
A senior official of the youth league told the Daily News on condition of anonymity that they had no obligation to inform “Mutsvangwa’s war veterans”.
“Mutsvangwa’s war veterans need to be reminded that the youth league reports to the politburo not to their faction,” the official said. “When the time comes, we will inform genuine war veterans who know the importance of the youths in terms of being not only the vanguard of the party but also defenders of …Mugabe and his legacy.”
He added that the youth league was aware that “Lacoste war veterans want to eventually claim glory after the march saying if it had not been their intervention, the march would have been a flop. That is why they are so desperate to be informed.”
The march, that is expected in the first half of this month, has been described by many in the party as “undeniably divisive” and with potential to define the warring governing party’s destiny unless party leaders get a better handle on it.
This comes as the war veterans have since suggested that the march would be a monumental disaster because youths allegedly lacked the stamina to organise such a massive event.
They also accused the youths of seeking to “capture” their legacy before the war veterans transferred it to them.
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News at the weekend said fears expressed by Mnangagwa’s allies were not without basis.
Commentator Davison Gomo said it was difficult to believe that Mugabe was under any noticeable threat as he appeared to enjoy widespread support from both factions in Zanu PF.
“People are being simplistic in saying a million people will come to the march in Harare. The danger we have here is of a few individuals purporting to be speaking on behalf of a million people. And those participating in the march might do it genuinely, but not knowing exactly why they are marching,” Gomo said.
Political commentator Blessing Vava also concurred that the march was a political statement targeted at the Midlands godfather and his allies among war veterans.
“It is meant to scare those who are alleged to be angling to succeed Mugabe. What is obvious is that Zanu PF will abuse State resources to bus the youths to Harare,” he said.