Harare, – Embattled Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe on Thursday shocked Zanu PF loyalists when he bluntly threatened a crackdown akin to the Gukurahundi massacres on a section of war veterans that is pushing for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed him.
The under siege leader was addressing a central committee meeting at the Zanu PF headquarters Thursday afternoon.
“Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans was formed to cater for the welfare of our veterans and not to champion the struggle for political change, not to be the boss of the party and never to be the bully of the party, nor the entity to make the choices of who should be and who should not, never ever! Expect within the party, always within the party and not outside the party,” said Mugabe.
Mugabe continued: “The dissidents tried it, they were war veterans and you know what happened. Lots of trouble, lots of fighting, lots of suffering of cause to our people, and these dissents activities cannot be allowed
“Do we see another rise of dissident activity?
“The leadership with our experience say no for a war veterans association, it’s not your function, it’s not your business to talk a lot on who shall succeed the President…”
“Dissident activities cannot be allowed; it ended in December 1987 when Cde Joshua Nkomo and I put our hands together and our hearts together to say never again shall we allow this to happen.”
As then Prime Minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe, Mugabe unleashed a North Korean trained Fifth Brigade army unit to hunt down armed insurgents that were sympathetic to former Vice President and rival Joshua Nkomo.
Independent reports say an estimated 20 000 civilians died in the hands of the army during the period commonly referred to as the Gukurahundi massacres.
Mugabe, who at 92, wants to run for another presidential term in 2018, is under fire for clinging to power and further blocking any discussion around his succession.
Last month, Mugabe described the faction pushing for a Mngangagwa take over as “treasonous”. – Additional Reporting from Radio VOP