THE MDC Alliance is mulling setting up a war veterans’ wing to represent ex-combatants in the opposition camp following a fallout with their counterparts in the Zanu PF-aligned Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA).
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume told NewsDay yesterday that plans were afoot to form a war veterans’ wing in the opposition coalition that has since morphed into a single party under Nelson Chamisa’s leadership.
“There was a suggestion when president (Nelson) Chamisa was welcoming National People’s Party (NPP) members, some of whom are war veterans, to the MDC Alliance that there is a need to have a war veterans wing in the party,” he said.
Over 200 NPP members led by senior party officials such as former Zanu PF official Dzikamai Mavhaire recently defected to the MDC Alliance after ditching Joice Mujuru.
Mujuru’s NPP has suffered defections of low and high-ranking officials, including her deputy Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, following the party’s poor showing in the general elections.
Mafume added: “Obviously, it is a process. It is something that will be submitted to our organs to see how it can be worked out, the modalities and framework for a war veterans’ wing.”
Former Gwanda South legislator Ekem Moyo, who is also the secretary-general of the independent Liberators Peace Initiative, said formation of an MDC Alliance ex-combatants wing was long overdue.
“Its influence cannot be downplayed.
It is necessary, yet long overdue,” Moyo commented.
Zanu PF has been quick to turn to war veterans for support during elections, and the latter have not hesitated to plead for freebies.
In 1997, angry war veterans pressured former President Robert Mugabe to pay them ZW$50 000 gratuities and other benefits for their role in the liberation struggle.