WHEN 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe branded defiant war veterans as dissidents, Zimbabweans automatically knew that they are on the right direction. The country is skirting on a political and economic precipice that requires an obstinate leadership to stop Mugabe and his coterie of hangers-on from further ruining the country.
We can understand the war veterans’ anger and discomfiture over the deteriorating political and economic situation much better than Mugabe, because we live with them, while the President is more of a visitor as he hardly spends time in the country due to his endless foreign jaunts that continue to milk us of financial resources, which could be better used to revive key sectors of the economy.
Frankly, the bulk of the war veterans are living on less than a dollar a day like majority Zimbabweans, and yet they are required to rally behind the nonagenarian, who has shown little regard for their welfare in the past decade.
While we remain apolitical, we believe the attack on the war veterans last Thursday and Friday at Zanu PF’s central committee and national consultative meetings in Harare, where Mugabe branded them as dissidents was inappropriate, provocative and undermining the country’s sovereignty.
It is unbelievable that Mugabe sought to inflame an increasingly volatile situation that could result in civil strife or attacks not only on war veterans but civilians including opposition supporters.
Mugabe amplified the threat of an all-out civil strife when he vowed to crush the war veterans. In effect, Mugabe’s attack smacks of duplicity as he is planning to set hungry Zanu PF supporters against each other for selfish means. He wants to consolidate his stranglehold on power at the expense of the whole nation, and that is not what democratic leaders do.
It is time Mugabe and his Zanu PF are stopped. They are taking Zimbabweans for fools, including Africa and the rest of the international community for granted. The fact that a strong anti-Mugabe chorus is coming right from his inner circle, shows how the President has overstayed, giving advantage to his family and a few others eating from the Zanu PF gravy train.
Now, that is not leadership. Zimbabweans must not allow Mugabe to set them against each other, no!
Why does Mugabe fear to relinquish power to another Zimbabwean — from his Zanu PF party or the opposition? This is a constitutional democracy, not a kingdom. Zimbabweans do not need a Mugabe dynasty of all things.
While we believe the war veterans are getting exactly what they bargained for, we are worried about the consequences of Mugabe’s “dissident threats” on the majority. Zimbabweans have not forgotten that Mugabe has in the past used war veterans as his “secret weapon” to terrorise civilians for voicing against his misrule and the general decay of the country. In recent months, Zanu PF officials have been going around the country coercing civilians to rally behind Mugabe in spite of the fact that Zimbabwe’s economy is on a tailspin.
It is clear that what is lacking is political leadership at the highest level, and this is causing untold suffering among Zimbabweans.
We call on Mugabe to hear the voices of reason for once, and do the honourable thing – to quit – and save the country from further collapse.
History is replete with examples of long time rulers who eventually succumbed to people’s power, and Mugabe is not an exception. We strongly condemn insurgency, but the signs are there for all to see. Mugabe should be reminded that Zimbabweans are full of anger and this is why everywhere people are angry over Zanu PF’s misgovernance, corruption and antagonism.
So, the President could do himself a favour by taking leave, appoint a successor if he does not like the war veterans’ preferred heir than for him to meet a violent end or drag the country into his grave.
No one doubts Mugabe’s credentials as a freedom fighter, but what legacy will he leave behind given his threats to the country’s stability by clinging to power? Food for thought!