WAR veterans chairman and former minister Christopher Mutsvangwa has dismissed a letter of apology circulating on social media, where he reportedly grovelled to President Robert Mugabe, begged for forgiveness and expressed reverence to the veteran ruler.
While Mutsvangwa declined to comment on the matter, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya immediately dismissed the letter as the work of a faction in Zanu PF known as G40.
“People must never underestimate other people’s intelligence and their ability to understand procedure,” he said.
“The chairman of the ZNLWVA (Mutsvangwa) is an experienced politician, he worked for the intelligence, was a member of the politburo and a long-serving member of the country’s diplomatic service.
“He knows how to handle such things if he wants to engage the President. He would never use social media.
“We are not surprised because, to us, this is the work of enemies of the war veterans, enemies of the revolution and obviously it is the G40.”
In the letter, purportedly written by Mutsvangwa, the war veterans boss heaps praises on Mugabe and profusely apologises for “my transgressions”.
“It is with a sunken heart, utmost sincerity and absolute humility that I throw myself at your feet to apologise profoundly to you personally, Your Excellency, your family, the party and the people of Zimbabwe, for all that I may have said to offend any or all of them, therefore, earning my current social and political censure and rancour,” the letter reads, addressing Mugabe by several titles.
“I wish to assure you, Your Excellency, that I never, by word or action, harboured any intention to impugn you or be part of any plot, either real or imagined, to remove you prematurely or unconstitutionally from office. As part of the finest crop of fighters, who were groomed in the crucible of the liberation struggle, indeed under your able stewardship, I have never found it in my heart to even fault you, let alone wish you out of power or dead.”
Following the aborted meeting of war veterans in February that ended with police using tear-smoke to disperse them, Mutsvangwa lost his position in the Zanu PF politburo after being suspended along with his wife Monica.
He was then axed from Cabinet amid indications he would be relieved of his duties as war veterans’ chairman, following a vote of no-confidence motion led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene.
The fawning in the letter goes overboard, describing Mugabe as a “superhuman” and that war veterans are ready to die for him.
To me and to the majority of my fellow combatants, you are an icon, almost superhuman and an infallible being,” the letter, which started making the round yesterday morning, reads.
“Yes, admittedly, when we talk or act, people around us are bound to analyse and interpret. Quite often, however, they may misread or exaggerate the meaning of our words or actions, thus misinforming or misleading authority to react in ways that, as in my case, amount to overkill.”
Mutsvangwa, according to the unsigned letter dated April 4, compares himself to a sparrow.
“In my present predicament and without at all attempting to understate the seriousness of my transgressions to those I may have offended, I feel like a mere sparrow, for whom all the howitzers that seem now arrayed in salvo against me may ultimately be a disproportionate weapon of choice to whip me back if I have strayed from the party line,” the letter, in typical verbosity characteristic of the ex-minister, said.
But a source close to Mutsvangwa said there were errors in the letter that the war veterans’ chairman would never make.
“The spelling of the surname is wrong, no signature, no stamp. Two different names — Mutsvangwa and Mutswangwa — in one letter. The English is not Christopher’s,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
The letter said Mutsvangwa was a loyal and dedicated party cadre.
“Zanu PF is the party of my life and family,” the contested letter continues.
“I have neither home nor life outside Zanu PF. With this in mind, Your Excellency, I appeal to you to find it in your heart to forgive me and my wife, Mornica (sic) as well, for everything that we may have done to offend the system that nurtured us into adulthood and political maturing.”
The letter says Mutsvangwa was prepared to recuse himself from the Thursday meeting between Mugabe and war veterans “in the interests of allowing an orderly, dignified and constructive conversation between you and your fellow war veterans”.
At the meeting held on Thursday, Mutsvangwa was not at the top table and did not actively participate in proceedings, sitting quietly with his wife Monica among other wartime commanders in the then high command and general staff. In parting, the letter purports Mutsvangwa accepting his punishment, but still supplicating for pardon.
“Rebuke us with words and with the rod even, we are your children. I have not refused to be rebuked. To err is human, but do not throw us to the wolves,” the letter concludes.