Mugabe given an ultimatum
War vets warn leader
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.