Disgruntled war veterans have attacked President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao over the Indigenisation minister’s recent remarks suggesting that ex-combatants were intimidating Zanu PF supporters to back Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations.
Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwao
At the same time, the angry former freedom fighters also escalated their feud with Mugabe yesterday, bluntly telling the nonagenarian that they would not be attending Zanu PF’s annual conference slated for Masvingo next week.
The spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, told the Daily News that Zhuwao had “no moral ground” to comment on their activities as he was “not yet born” when they waged the war of liberation.
“Zhuwao doesn’t know anything … when we went to war he was not yet born. He is trying to personalise or making it (leadership of Zanu PF and the country) a family thing because you will never find justification when this issue comes from the nephew of the president.
“They want to separate us from the people, but we will remain with the people. We expect such a thing from Zhuwao, considering his age. If it was not the determination of war veterans, he would never have had his dreadlocks and he would never have been a minister.
“We don’t see him occupying that position as justifiable. It’s part of what we think is nepotism. He doesn’t know about the revolution, he only knows this from books. He must shut up. People must not call people like Zhuwao comrades. It’s an abuse of the name,” the forthright Mahiya thundered.
Zhuwao suggested at the weekend that some of Mnangagwa’s supporters were allegedly using fear to try and impose the VP on Zanu PF supporters. This was after war veterans had previously warned that if Mnangagwa did not succeed Mugabe blood could be shed in the country.
This, as Zhuwao’s Zanu PF detractors claim that he is one of the influential members of the party faction made up of Young Turks, which goes by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), and which is opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — a charge he flatly denies.
Mahiya said many war veterans would not be attending the impending Zanu PF annual conference, citing bribery and misrepresentations of their grievances by the War Veterans ministry as some of the reasons for this looming boycott.
“The ministry has gone as far as picking up war veterans who they are giving money to attend the conference so that the president will think that the war veterans are there.
“We were not invited to the conference because at the helm of the party we have a G40 cabal. So obviously, they don’t want to see us attending their function. There is bad blood between us and the G40.
“They will be celebrating victory to have a conference without war veterans, which is contrary to what we always say. Zimbabwe was born out of the liberation struggle, and the war was fought by war veterans who are surprisingly not invited. They want to remove all veterans from the party.
“But Zanu PF is not G40. Zanu PF in its proper definition is made up of the people. The Masvingo conference will be the first in the history of the party to be held without war veterans,” Mahiya added.
“As long as (Chris) Mutsvangwa and his leadership are not there, those who are going are not representing war veterans. To them, it can be meaningful but to us it’s a big anomaly which is not supposed to be done. G40 cannot represent the people,” Mahiya said further.
This comes as Mugabe and Zanu PF have been working hard to try and heal the widening rift between them, and the former freedom fighters who ended their 41-year relationship with the Zanu PF leader after releasing a damning communiqué on him in July.
Since then, Mugabe and Zanu PF have been dangling gifts to the war vets, including cash, land and vehicles in a bid to strengthen the ruling party ahead of the crucial forthcoming polls — after their initial thuggish methods failed to coerce the disgruntled ex-combatants into line. Daily News