ZIMBABWE Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWA) has dismissed President Robert Mugabe’s meeting with former collaborators, describing it as a desperate attempt by a “caged leader” to solicit support ahead of the 2018 general elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mugabe, at the weekend, met with the war veterans, war collaborators, ex-detainees and ex-restrictees, among other stakeholders, following months of a tumultuous relationship with the former combatants.
The meeting was viewed as an attempt to close ranks with his often-trusted pillar of support after the war veterans threatened to sever ties with the veteran leader, ordering him to dump G40, a Zanu PF faction said to be opposed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendency in the fluid succession race.
But ZNLWA chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, who was attacked by Mugabe during the meeting, said this reflected how “clueless” Mugabe has been.
“Clueless, all for nothing and all too late,” he told NewsDay yesterday.
Mutsvangwa said Mugabe failed to address any of the issues raised during the meeting.
ZNLWA spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya weighed in, saying war collaborators should be wary of being used by a desperate Zanu PF regime.
“They should ask themselves why they are being remembered now after 36 years, what has happened that Mugabe now wants to meet them and discuss what concerns them, that’s a question any reasonable person should ask,” he said.
In the meeting, which later turned into a platform for endorsing Mugabe’s presidential candidacy in 2018 and a demand for gratuities, Mugabe ducked nearly all the concerns raised by the war collaborators.
The war collaborators told Mugabe that they were unhappy with the neglect they had suffered at the hands of the government and selective application of the law.
Jabulani Mbeti, speaking on behalf of the thematic committee on statutory benefits, demanded that Mugabe’s government pays them gratuities, just as it had war veterans.
“Only war veterans received gratuities, yet the Constitution provides that we are entitled to the gratuities,” he said.
Mbeti said his committee wanted Mugabe to put them on medical aid cover and establish a medical centre, which would treat them and their children.
Political analyst, Eldred Masunungure agreed with the ZNLWVA, saying Mugabe was under siege and had turned to the war collaborators in a bid to build an electoral alliance ahead of the 2018 elections.
“Mugabe’s intention was to construct a broad electoral alliance, especially in light of the fact that the war veterans are no longer a reliable pillar. He is clearly under siege and now turning to other elements with liberation war credentials to influence the electorate,” he said.
Masunungure said Mugabe had dodged attacks on his political commissar and the other Young Turks in the party because he still needed their support in the next election.