Disgruntled liberation war fighters are on the verge of forming a new political party whose leader would contest their former patron — President Robert Mugabe — at next year’s elections. This is against spirited previous attempts for Mugabe to step down for their preferred candidate Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The war veterans have grown increasingly disillusioned with Zanu PF’s rule and the fact that they are no longer at the centre of the party’s scheme of things that they now want to form a movement that will contest for power.
Informed sources told the Daily News that the war veterans have been meeting behind the scenes with the mission of forming their own political party, something that could happen this week.
Mujuru abandoned ZPF following its split last year and is now the interim leader of the National People’s Party, which is still to make an impact on the country’s political landscape.
A war veteran, Thomas Chitauro, who is privy to the developments, told the Daily News yesterday that a communiqué would be issued in due course, announcing the formation of the party.
“We are coming up with something and working with war veterans across the board. At the moment, I cannot say much but will inform you in due course,” said Chitauro.
According to sources, the daring war veterans even approached some top army officials intending to update their wartime comrades of the development.
“We wanted to make (Chris) Mutsvangwa the leader of the political movement, but he has not committed himself. We are also looking at Rugare Gumbo to lead the movement. At one point, emissaries were send to sound the army but they were turned away as it was deemed that the army’s involvement would be tantamount to coup,” said the source.
Mutsvangwa is the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).
He was fired from government and Zanu PF last year.
While Mutsvangwa was not picking up his cell phone yesterday and did not respond to messages sent to him, Gumbo confirmed to the Daily News that he has heard about the new war veterans’ movement.
“I have heard that comrades want to form their own thing but I will be able to shed more light later this week,” said Gumbo.
He was, however, quick to point out that since they have been ostracised from the ruling party, it was only prudent for them to form their own party.
“I cannot confirm or deny that because war veterans are many but, as the association, we will remain as we are. There is no point in forming another structure (although) comrades who are in the association are free to form their party,” said Matemadanda.
“However, the move by war veterans to form their own party shows that comrades are now losing confidence in Zanu PF. This is because Zanu PF is good at using people. Comrades want to form something of their own because, as Mugabe said, they have no place in Zanu PF. Comrades do not see their roles in Zanu PF apart from that of (getting their) welfare (issues attended to), as Mugabe said. The question is: Can it be a country that does not respect those who were at the warfront? They are using criminals when war veterans are there. We are in a crisis situation as far as Zimbabwe is concerned,” said Matemadanda.
Since serving Mugabe with divorce papers last year, war veterans, once the anchor of the ruling party rule, have turned to critics of the status quo.
Most frustrating for the war veterans is that their preferred candidate to succeed Mugabe, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not had his way — prompting them to mull forming their own party.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told the Daily News yesterday that they have become so fed up with the status quo in Zanu PF that they are mulling forming a new political movement that espouses the founding values of the country’s liberation struggle.
Until last year when relations between ZNLWVA and Mugabe reached the lowest ebb — the later was the patron of the association that includes most but not all of the country fighters of the liberation war.
Mahiya said Zanu PF has used patronage as a weapon to push a non revolutionary dynastic agenda.
“War veterans have little or no time before they are erased from history.- Daily News