ANY attempts to stop Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa from succeeding President Robert Mugabe will result in bloodshed, war veterans have warned in the most ominous message yet, as the race to succeed the veteran ruler turns sinister.
The warning was reportedly issued by war veterans’ chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa while addressing former freedom fighters in Gweru at the weekend.
“If anyone goes against VP (Mnangagwa), it is against the revolutionary cadres,” minutes of the war veterans’ meeting seen by NewsDay read.
“He said if anyone derails the aim of succession, he or she will cause bloodshedding in the country (sic).”
Mutsvangwa also reportedly told the meeting Mnangagwa was the only person to succeed Mugabe and was “the only man known in China”.
The war veterans’ chairman told the meeting he had been asked in China who would succeed Mugabe and he put forward Mnangagwa’s name in “order to attract the Chinese businesspeople”.
Mugabe’s succession is often a prickly subject, with the veteran leader saying those angling for his post were being treasonous.
In a strange twist of events, when asked about the bloodshed threats, Mutsvangwa yesterday claimed these were a creation of the G40 faction.
“War veterans contemptuously condemn the G40 smear campaign to taint them through association with bloodshed or other anti-democratic actions. This is specious calumny from the G40 camp concocted specifically by its founder Jonathan Moyo,” he said in trademark verbosity.
“He (Moyo) is miffed at the success of the April indaba between the war veterans and their patron (Mugabe). It re-created unbreakable bonds between freedom fighters and their iconic leader. It laid to waste the shameless machinations of the G40 aimed at divide-and-rule.”
Mutsvangwa said since the “game-changing and historic indaba”, there was pandemonium and confusion in the ranks of the “discredited” G40.
He claimed G40 members were no longer being welcomed by the First Family and Western embassies that used to dine with them.
“War veterans delivered freedom to Zimbabwe and the present democratic dispensation. They will never find themselves at cross-purpose with the suffering masses,” Mutsvangwa continued.
In the minutes of the meeting seenby NewsDay, Mutsvangwa also insinuated that G40 members were pushing Mugabe’s hand to axe service chiefs.
“He (Mutsvangwa) also accused the G40 of influencing His Excellency (Mugabe) to select new blood for army chiefs. He said this will not happen and [they] will remove the G40 group,” the minutes read.
Mugabe uncharacteristically lashed out at the country’s security chiefs at the Zanu PF annual conference in December last year in Victoria Falls, accusing them of dabbling in succession politics.
War veterans’ secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, who also spoke at the meeting, twisted the knife even further into G40, naming politburo members Saviour Kasukuwere, Moyo and women’s league deputy head Eunice Sandi-Moyo as the kingpins of the faction who deserved to be sacked by the party.
“He (Matemadanda) said Kasukuwere, Sandi-Moyo, (Energy minister Samuel) Undenge, Moyo (must) be expelled from the party, while the issue of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko is being discussed,” the minutes further show.
The former freedom fighters, a few months ago, said they had passed a no-confidence vote on Mphoko and Kasukuwere.
Minutes of the Gweru meeting also show that in the aftermath of the death of suspended women’s league secretary for administration, Espinah Nhari, last month, the war veterans demanded the position be assumed by someone from Midlands province.
“The position of women’s league secretary-general (secretary for administration) must come back to Midlands,” Matemadanda is recorded as having said.
Nhari was suspended by the ruling party’s politburo for allegedly chanting an anti-G40 slogan during First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rally in Gutu last year.
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube on Wednesday distanced himself from the war veterans’ resolutions.
“I don’t think it is the correct way of doing things. I don’t know about the resolutions,” he said.
Sandi-Moyo said Mnangagwa had not yet revealed any intention of taking over from Mugabe.
“We don’t involve ourselves in issues of war veterans. I cannot comment because Mnangagwa himself is not involved in that,” she said.
“Mnangagwa didn’t say that and I don’t know where they are getting it from. We are not on the side fighting Mnangagwa and when the time comes, we will still be doing our work.”