War veterans gathered in Harare on Thursday and declared that Zimbabwe would never get international financial assistance as long as President Robert Mugabe, 92, remains in power. They also insisted that according to the current Zanu PF leadership set up Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa should take over.
They also defied the Zanu PF directive not to debate Mugabe’s succession, saying they could not remain quiet given Mugabe’s advanced age.
The war veterans, who used to be rapidly behind Mugabe, are now supporting his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over, with the reported backing of the military and are increasingly getting vocal in their criticism of the president.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Mnangagwa faction is now gunning for elections to take place in 2017, a year earlier than schedule.
“The most stupid thing war veterans can do is to be scared to speak about succession when the leader is 92. Nobody will give money to a 92 year-old,” said Douglas Mahiya, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association spokesperson.
Government is currently working to get back financial assistance from the Bretton Woods institutions, the World and International Monetary Fund (IMF) after more than 10 of disengagement.
Mahiya was addressing ex-combatants’ provincial representatives at the Raylton Sports Club. The war veterans meeting was held a day after thousands of Zanu PF youths besieged central Harare in support of Mugabe who gave them 1,000 hectares of land on which to build houses.
There is pandemonium to give stands to youths but we never saw that with war vets. Councils have been rendered useless,” said Mahiya.
Mugabe, whose relations with the once-trusted war veterans continue to worsen, is now increasingly depending on youths to prop him up, in spite of his repeated reference to the liberation war that brought independence.
This is in line with strategies by a rival succession camp in Zanu PF, Generation 40 (G40,) that is opposed to the party’s old guard represented by Mnangagwa’s camp.
Mahiya regretted getting rid of former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda, insisting that ex-combatants were tricked into removing him from the association for allegedly rough talking the Mugabe family who he said had virtually privatised Zimbabwe through a “bedroom coup”.
Sibanda, who was linked to a faction led by Joice Mujuru who is now heading a split called Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), in 2014 publicly complained that Grace had taken over State affairs.
The war vets vowed that their leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa who Mugabe fired as cabinet minister and was recently expelled from Zanu PF, losing his parliamentary seat in the process, “is not going anywhere”.
“Mutsvangwa represents the development of democracy. He was so straightforward that we knew he would not survive. They want Mutsvangwa to be removed but he is not going anywhere,” said Mahiya.
The war vets vowed that, according to the current Zanu PF leadership set up, Mnangagwa must take over from Mugabe.
They took a swipe at Mnangagwa’s counterpart, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who they accused of corruption and tribalism, and said the 1987 unity agreement that ended civil unrest in Zimbabwe was under threat.
Zimbabwe will be commemorating Heroes Day early next month, but the war veterans said there was no reason to celebrate “when the economy is dead