PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday charmed war veterans offering improved economic opportunities, medical aid and other benefits ahead of a potentially bruising elective congress to be held this year in Harare.

The war veterans will vote for the very first time in an elective congress in which Zanu PF aims to prepare its structures and affiliates ahead of its elective congress which will choose a leader to represent the party in the 2028 presidential elections.

Speaking at the War Veterans National Assembly, which was attended by Vice-President Constatino Chiwenga at the Zanu PF headquarters, Mnangagwa told the ex-combatants that they should prepare to participate in the congress.

“From now own the war veterans’ league as other leagues will be represented as you, when we have our national elective congress, this in terms of our practice will be held in October,” Mnangagwa said.

The congress will determine how Mnangagwa will proceed until the end of his presidential term in 2028 and could present Zanu PF with a tricky situation where it is forced to deal with the succession issue.

Mnangagwa promised to gift war veterans a better life to ensure their lives become bearable, even as the disgruntled group has continually voiced concern that Zanu PF has ignored its pleas.

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“My administration is ready to facilitate the broad-based empowerment of your membership so that you fully participate in the economy as well as the ongoing industrialisation, modernisation of our motherland. I direct the minister to quicken the implementation of interventions towards addressing the challenges affecting this special constituency,” he said.

Mnangagwa, who indicated that he was worried that most of his comrades were dying and the number of war veterans dwindling, called on his peers to train the young generations so that it continues with their legacy and ensure the party rules the country for eternity.

Insiders who spoke to NewsDay said the promises made to war veterans and the recent changes in the politburo were all linked to preparations for the elective congress which will shape the path Mnangagwa will take in the then remaining three years of his presidency.

“This is a very critical aspect of the succession matrix, even this war veterans’ assembly and promises made must not be viewed in isolation,” said a highly placed Zanu PF politburo member.

Speaking during the same event, national secretary of the war veterans Douglas Mahiya, called on Mnangagwa to quicken the controversial Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Bill, saying if passed into law, the legislation would spell the death of NGOs which have been  supporting regime change in Zimbabwe.

“The war veterans are in full support of the PVOs Bill as it will act to counter NGOs which are working with foreign entities to undermine the ruling Zanu PF.

“I would also like to encourage you to ensure that we set up Zanu PF aligned NGOs to counter the influence of these regime change entities. President as we speak we will be launching our own NGO in the next month or two,” he said.