Mu­gabe given an ul­ti­ma­tum

War vets warn leader

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - CAJ NEWS

ZIM­BABWE’S for­mer lib­er­a­tion fighters have given Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe an ul­ti­ma­tum to an­nounce his suc­ces­sor or lose their vote in next year’s wa­ter­shed elec­tions.

The vet­er­ans, whose mem­ber­ship is es­ti­mated at 30 000, are op­posed to the can­di­da­ture of Mu­gabe, 93, who is seek­ing another five-year term at the helm.

Christo­pher Mutsvangwa, the Zim­babwe Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion War Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son, said they would stage a protest vote against Mu­gabe if Zanu-PF did not field a dif­fer­ent can­di­date. Mutsvangwa con­tended that Mu­gabe was a li­a­bil­ity to the party who the vet­er­ans had loy­ally sup­ported over the years.

He said the aged leader had be­come a bur­den to the coun­try he has ruled since in­de­pen­dence in 1980.

The war vet­er­ans’ chair­per­son, who has been ex­pelled from Zanu-PF be­cause of his op­po­si­tion to Mu­gabe’s con­tin­ued lead­er­ship, de­manded that a congress be held to choose a suc­ces­sor.

“We are not go­ing to be fooled into en­ter­ing an elec­tion where the can­di­date is not clear,” Mutsvangwa told me­dia in the cap­i­tal Harare.

“Let’s go and have the congress im­me­di­ately. Let the peo­ple choose who they want to be the leader be­fore the elec­tions,” he said.

He pre­dicted a de­feat for Mu­gabe and the party in the next elec­tion.

Mu­gabe lost the poll to Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai of the Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change in 2008, but re­tained power af­ter the op­po­si­tion leader boy­cotted a re­run, cit­ing vi­o­lence.

“If Mu­gabe de­cides to go to an elec­tion with­out a congress and as the alu­minium foil for the G40 can­di­date, the de­feat of 2008 will be child’s play be­cause we will en­sure the G40 loses.”

The G40 is a group­ing of young min­is­ters push­ing for Mu­gabe’s wife, Grace,52, to re­place her hus­band.

The war vet­er­ans pre­fer Mu­gabe’s deputy, Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, 74, to the con­tro­ver­sial first lady, who has been vil­i­fy­ing Mnan­gagwa.

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