Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mugabe Must Go! – War Veterans

Agitated war veterans have reiterated their call for President Robert Mugabe to leave office now, adding derisively yesterday that they would not "waste" their time quarrelling with Zanu-PF youths who have said that they are prepared to take up arms to defend the nonagenarian.

Speaking to the Daily News, the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, was emphatic that Mugabe - who turns a mature 93 next month - could not continue to lead the country.
*President Mugabe
He also took a swipe at Zanu-PF youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga who said earlier this week that party youths were ready to go to war against former freedom fighters and other supporters of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in defence of Mugabe - saying Chipanga had "no idea" about wars and their deadly consequences.

This comes as Zanu-PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo was also insisting yesterday at a press conference held at the party's headquarters in Harare that Mugabe would be the party's presidential candidate in next year's eagerly-anticipated national elections, as decided at the party's disputed 2014 congress.

"The youths do not know what taking up arms is all about. They only hear about it. Nobody in their right mind wants a war, especially those who were once involved in one. What the youths are saying is childish.

"What we are simply saying is that a 93-year-old may, naturally, not be fully capable of discharging their duties in the office of the president,"
 the forthright Mahiya said.

However, Chombo was adamant that Mugabe could only be challenged internally at the party's 2019 elective congress.

"Some of you, including the press elect not to read," Chombo said, adding that the Zanu-PF congress was the only party event that was held to elect the person who would represent the former liberation movement in future elections.

"We are saying this so that newspapers do not create confusion where there is none. In 2014, we elected our president.

"We said then that all those who want to be president should raise their hands. Everyone rushed to lift the president's, saying ‘we want Mugabe, he is the one we want to be president of the party'.

"This was a mandate for five years. So, anyone who wants to come in now can only do so at the 2019 congress. Logically and mathematically, it's all very clear and straightforward . . . there is no shortcut. So what is bothering our reporters?" he said - bizarrely appearing to blame Zanu-PF's worsening tribal, factional and succession wars on the media.

And as Chombo was railing against the Fourth Estate, the ruling party's two main factions, the Generation 40 (G40) group and Team Lacoste, were openly exchanging blows over Mugabe's bitterly-contested succession.

"The presidency is not a straightjacket. We also understand that when our parents went to war, they were fighting for one man, one vote.

"So, any attempt by anyone to impose a leader on us in Zanu-PF will be resisted fiercely by the youths who are even prepared to take up arms in defence of that principle. We are not going to be intimidated by anyone," Chipanga thundered ominously earlier this week.

On his part, Mahiya said former freedom fighters did not want war with the youths, but were simply giving them guidance on Zimbabwe's history, the basis of the country's 1970s revolution and how Zanu-PF's succession should be managed.

"We cannot force them to accept our advice if they refuse to understand. In any case, we don't want to fight anybody, although we are so experienced about wars," Mahiya said, adding that the youths would not get any support from anyone to wage their threatened war, unless they enlisted "the services of mercenaries".

The majority of war veterans and other supporters of Mnangagwa, such as vocal Zanu-PF member Energy Mutodi, have been vociferously calling on Mugabe to stand down, in addition to calling for the holding of an extraordinary congress to choose a new leader for the ruling party.

"The reasons for the liberation war were clear. It was a war to end racial discrimination. Our liberators wanted to achieve equality among all the people of this country. It was not a war to change the face of the oppressor from white to black.

"As we speak, life in Rhodesia was much better than life in independent Zimbabwe as Rhodesia offered enough jobs for all.

"There was no nepotism and discrimination on tribal grounds like what we see today. The economy is now on its knees due to economic mismanagement, corruption and poor policies.

"Millions of youths are unemployed and see no reason why they should continue supporting a status quo that is insensitive to their plight," Mutodi thundered yesterday, following Chipanga's threats.

He said it was heart-rending to note that some of the youths who were born after Zimbabwe's independence had never been employed and had become parents under Mugabe's leadership, whose 2013 two million job promise "remains a pie in the sky".

"As a party, Zanu-PF has failed to attract foreign investment and the passing of laws that scare away investors has made the youths hopeless, hence the need for leadership change," he added.

Mutodi also said Chipanga was "trying too hard to curry favours" with Mugabe through "poisonous" bootlicking.

"He is an active member of the G40 and has benefitted immensely from the corrupt deals that they are facilitating for each other. He therefore doesn't care about the millions of youths who are wallowing in poverty," Mutodi claimed.


"No one must aspire to stay in power forever. Everyone who wants to lead must be given an opportunity to stand in an election and not be expelled from the party. It is not a crime for one to aspire to lead," he said further.

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