War vet­er­ans must be loyal, dis­ci­plined

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

THE Zim­babwe Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion War Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion is an af­fil­i­ate of the rul­ing Zanu-PF party hav­ing been formed specif­i­cally as a wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tion to cham­pion the cause of former free­dom fight­ers. Its man­date is to look af­ter the wel­fare of ex-com­bat­ants and it has done im­pec­ca­bly well in this regard with its no­table suc­cess be­ing the Z$50 000 gra­tu­ity it man­aged to con­vince Govern­ment to pay war vet­er­ans in 1997.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe ac­ceded to the ex-fight­ers’ re­quest given the dire sit­u­a­tion most of them found them­selves in and the need to recog­nise their ster­ling role in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

Over the years, Govern­ment has con­tin­ued to look af­ter the wel­fare of war vet­er­ans de­spite the eco­nomic chal­lenges be­dev­illing the coun­try. On their part, the former free­dom fight­ers have re­mained loyal to the rul­ing party and played a big role in en­sur­ing that the gains of in­de­pen­dence are pre­served by cam­paign­ing for Zanu-PF — the party to which they are af­fil­i­ated. Govern­ment has also el­e­vated the sta­tus of ex-com­bat­ants by mak­ing them a re­serve force fall­ing un­der the Min­istry of De­fence.

It has also cre­ated a min­istry specif­i­cally to cater to their needs and it is su­per­in­tended by a war vet­eran Re­tired Colonel Tshinga Dube. As an af­fil­i­ate, the ZNLWVA can­not dic­tate to Zanu-PF which is why we find a state­ment re­leased by a rogue group of war vet­er­ans in Harare last Thurs­day in which they cut ties with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and called on him to re­sign, quite mis­chievous and re­gret­table.

Couched in the lan­guage of op­po­si­tion groups and other re­ac­tionar­ies, the state­ment was trea­sonous in that it called for the re­moval of a le­git­i­mately elected Pres­i­dent who still has two years of his term to com­plete. State se­cu­rity agen­cies have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find out who was be­hind the trai­tor­ous com­mu­nique but all in­di­ca­tions point to the hand of Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa, the ZNLWVA chair­man who was booted out of Govern­ment, Par­lia­ment and Zanu-PF for dab­bling in suc­ces­sion pol­i­tics.

The state­ment also ap­peared to have been writ­ten prior to the war vet­er­ans’ meet­ing and we won­der if the gen­er­al­ity of the mem­ber­ship of the ZNLWVA were con­sulted be­fore it was read out. Most ex-com­bat­ants have since dis­owned the doc­u­ment with ZNLWVA spokesman Cde Dou­glas Mahiya telling our sis­ter pa­per,

that the as­so­ci­a­tion was also car­ry­ing out its own in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Cde Head­man Moyo, who chaired the Thurs­day meet­ing, has also re­port­edly dis­tanced him­self from the doc­u­ment. “Most of those we have talked to so far say they had noth­ing to do with the com­mu­nique. They are sug­gest­ing that the doc­u­ment was au­thored be­fore the meet­ing and then pre­sented there to try and le­git­imise it.

“What makes us an­gry is that if there are peo­ple who have taken po­si­tions on cer­tain mat­ters, they should at least have the spine to stand by those po­si­tions in­stead of hid­ing be­hind the as­so­ci­a­tion and tar­nish­ing all war vet­er­ans in the process,” a war vet­eran said.

We find the at­tempt to use war vet­er­ans to push the ne­far­i­ous agen­das of cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als un­ac­cept­able and urge the former free­dom fight­ers to im­me­di­ately con­vene an ex­tra­or­di­nary con­gress to elect a new lead­er­ship which is dis­ci­plined and fo­cused on cham­pi­oning their cause.

As their pa­tron, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has been in­stru­men­tal in tak­ing care of the wel­fare of ex-com­bat­ants and de­serves their re­spect. As a re­serve force, the ex-fight­ers should be dis­ci­plined and never cast asper­sions on their Com­man­der in Chief. Such trea­sonous be­hav­iour has no place in Zim­babwe.

We are also baf­fled as to whose agenda the au­thors of the trea­sonous state­ment are push­ing be­cause Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, whom some war vet­er­ans have in re­cent months claimed they are cam­paign­ing for to as­sume the high­est of­fice in the land, has trashed such claims, de­scrib­ing them as “non­sense, ab­so­lute non­sense”.

VP Mnan­gagwa also dis­missed calls by some war vet­er­ans for Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe to re­sign. In an in­terview with the VP also made it clear he had noth­ing to do with the clique of rogue war vet­er­ans who are try­ing to push Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe out of of­fice and re­place him with Cde Mnan­gagwa at both rul­ing party and Govern­ment level.

He said all war vet­er­ans should re­main loyal to their Com­man­der-in-Chief. “I watched ZBCtv (on Fri­day and learnt) that they made a state­ment, but I haven’t read it. If they said the Pres­i­dent must re­sign, then that is non­sen­si­cal. If they are true war vet­er­ans, the Pres­i­dent is their Com­man­der-in-Chief and they must be loyal and com­mit­ted. I don’t think those who say such things are loyal or gen­uine war vet­er­ans. They must be loyal,” the VP said.

We com­mend Cde Mnan­gagwa for dis­tanc­ing him­self from the state­ment by rogue war vet­er­ans and urge se­cu­rity agen­cies to get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter.

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