ZANU PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana yesterday said they were in no hurry to sever ties with former President Robert Mugabe and to rename the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as requested by the war veterans.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The developments came in the wake of Mugabe’s decision to send representatives to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration on Sunday.
Mugabe, who has previously snubbed national gatherings, sent his daughter Bona and son-in-law Simba Chikore to represent him at his successor’s installation.
Mangwana said there was need for maturity and wisdom in dealing with the war veterans’ demands given that Mugabe appeared to be softening towards the new administration by “showing statesmanship”.
“It is gratifying. That is the kind of message Zimbabwe has been expecting. You heard the applause, we expect that as our founding President, he must occupy that respectable place and today, he behaved just exactly as we expected,” Mangwana said.
“There has been a request to change the Robert [Gabriel] Mugabe International Airport, but government has not taken a decision and so has the party not taken a position. It is a request which has come from some sections within the party, but that request would be considered in light of behaviour and conduct made today (Sunday) and going forward.”
The development was likely to put Zanu PF and the war veterans association on a collision path, with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda insisting that Mugabe should be banished even after his endorsement of Mnangagwa’s administration as he was a “sellout”.
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“We are not convinced with that. I am not sure if he is sincere. I think he is doing that to avoid the name change that we are undertaking at the airport. I don’t see any good reason why he should congratulate ED when, in actual fact, he said he would not vote for him,” he said.
Matemadanda said Mugabe should do more before his former allies rethink their relationship with him, otherwise they would stop at nothing to have him excommunicated and his name removed from the international airport.
Mugabe has previously expressed dislike for his successor’s administration since his ouster in November last year.
On the eve of the July 30 polls, the former head of State announced that he would not vote for Zanu PF, but would throw in his lot with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.