THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA)’s national executive is plotting its next move following a crackdown on its hierarchy after the release of a damning communiqué last month that labelled President Robert Mugabe a dictator and urged him to step down.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
While the agenda of its next meeting to be held anytime from now was not yet clear, ZNLWVA sources said they were planning to reject moves to railroad them into an early elective congress aimed at removing the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive.
“We are not talking about a congress because the leadership we have has three years remaining on its mandate,” a source said.
“We have no reason to doubt that they have done what they set out to do and confidence in Mutsvangwa and his leadership has never been higher.”
Mutsvangwa declined to discuss the matter, curtly saying: “Please talk to (ZNLWVA spokesperson, Douglas) Mahiya.”
Mahiya was evasive when contacted for comment.
“It’s not yet defined because we have a few financial problems we need to deal with. However, we will continue to prepare for the meeting because it is important that we evaluate our situation,” he said.
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube recently said the government and the ruling Zanu PF would need to engage Mutsvangwa’s leadership for a way forward.
As internal fissures threaten to tear Zanu PF apart, the war veterans have continued their push to have Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Mugabe’s successor.
However, Mnangagwa’s candidature was facing growing resistance from a faction of the ruling party known as G40, which reportedly has the backing of First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Mugabe recently gave his seal of approval for a section of the former freedom fighters fronted by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene to temporarily head the association, but this fell flat after Mutsvangwa’s executive obtained a High Court order stopping the Chimene faction from masquerading as the ZNLWVA executive.
The war veterans’ contentious communiqué issued on July 21 this year, accused Mugabe of manipulating Zanu PF processes, including during the liberation war.
Through the communiqué, whose authors have remained anonymous, the former freedom fighters announced they were withdrawing their support for Mugabe ahead of the 2018 elections, although the ruling party has endorsed him as its presidential candidate.
The communiqué infuriated Mugabe’s government, forcing it to launch a crackdown that has resulted in the arrest of senior executives of the ZNLWVA, among them Mahiya, secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, vice-chairperson Headman Moyo, national commissar Francis Nhando and Harare provincial deputy chairman Hoyini Bhila.
The five are now out on bail awaiting trial for allegedly insulting Mugabe and have since been expelled from the ruling party.
Police are still on a manhunt for the authors of the communiqué and have now turned to quizzing journalists in an attempt to find those behind it.