War veterans, Zanu-PF re-engagement welcome
THERE has been much conflict between war veterans generally and some elements in Zanu-PF. In developments that are patently uncharacteristic of the ruling party, the clique has attempted to set the liberators against their patron, President Mugabe and the First Lady, Cde Grace. War veterans also accuse the group of using party youths and women to go after them (war veterans). At one point some youths actually challenged the liberators, most disrespectfully, to a physical showdown.
There is evidence that the elements were succeeding they influenced the party to expel the leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) from Zanu-PF while those that remained are being sidelined.
It is sad indeed to have founding members of a revolution, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the independence of the country and its postindependence development, being systematically hounded out of their party by people who joined them later on. There is always something wrong when such a thing happens.
We have happily witnessed efforts over the past few days to correct this anomaly. At the weekend President Mugabe dispatched the Politburo Secretary for War Veterans who is also Minister of Defence, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister Responsible for the Welfare of War Veterans, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube and his permanent secretary Rtd Brigadier General Walter Tapfumaneyi to hold meetings with war veterans in Chinhoyi, Mutare and other places with the agenda to find common ground. This culminated in a meeting on Tuesday between Rtd Col Dube and the ZNLWVA delegation of chairman, Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, his deputy Cde Headman Moyo and spokesman, Cde Douglas Mahiya in Harare.
At the Tuesday meeting, the veterans confirmed their support for Zanu-PF but voiced anger at the way the party is being run. They warned that if the manner in which the party is run continues, the revolutionary party’s enemy would succeed in destroying it from within. In addition, they condemned high level corruption involving some in the Government, highlighting that there appeared to be a relationship between the corrupt elements and those who are orchestrating their removal from the party.
Another important outcome of the meeting was the rejection by war veterans of two documents
the Blue Ocean document and the July 21 communiqué in which the revolutionaries purportedly cut ties with their patron and Zanu-PF.
A joint statement issued after the meeting shows that the two sides had a frank discussion.
“The war veterans reaffirmed their status as revolutionaries, asserting their unwavering loyalty to Zimbabwe, the revolutionary party Zanu-PF and its original and authentic leadership,” Rtd Col Dube said.
“They asserted that the current manner in which the party is being run is driving them away because they see the party as having been hijacked away from the ethos and ideals of the liberation struggle. In this regard, they expressed clearly that if these issues are not addressed urgently, the enemy’s pronounced intentions of effecting regime change from within will manifest.
“They saw the current rift between the party and the war veterans as being orchestrated from within the party by elements who are determined to destroy the party from within at the behest of the architects of regime change.”
War veterans are not superhuman, we must state. They are not infallible, thus are bound to make mistakes here and there like all of us. However, it is difficult for us to imagine a situation where they lose their grasp of the revolution they founded and its principles to justify the lynchings their leaders have endured from persons within Zanu-PF in recent months.
They founded the party, they fought the liberation struggle and have been at the forefront of implementation of fundamental Government programmes over the past 36 years. War veterans have led in keeping the revolutionary consciousness among the general population alive, they led in the prosecution of the land redistribution programme and are the party’s most trusted and able commissars.
That is why we are glad at the President’s willingness to iron out the differences between them and the party. The acrimony is unhelpful for the party, the Government and the country at large. It emboldens the opposition ahead of crucial elections in 2018 because a Zanu-PF without war veterans is not strictly Zanu-PF. It disrupts implementation of Government programmes and creates national uneasiness.
We mentioned early on and decried the war veterans-youths conflict. The latter are very important in Zanu-PF. They are the future but they must not see themselves competing against the old guard so acrimoniously. Instead, they have so much to learn from war veterans in terms of revolutionary consciousness and political strategy. That would enable the young cadres of today to seamless take over from the old hands and carry the revolutionary forward.
It is our sincere hope that the senior party leadership will adopt the outcome of the Tuesday meeting and implement its recommendations for greater party unity and progress.