Zimbabwe’s former freedom fighters have demanded more ministerial positions, an improvement of their welfare and an end to factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF party.
They also said the party should have a political commissar who participated in the war of liberation of the 1970s.
The war veterans, who held a meeting Thursday with their patron President Robert Mugabe at the City Sports Center in Harare, further urged the president to ensure that they are given at least 20 percent of the land seized from white commercial farmers.
In his response, President Mugabe appeared to be giving the war veterans the right to grab more white-owned commercial farms.
While Mr. Mugabe used a conciliatory tone when he addressed the war veterans, he also encouraged them to be disciplined and warned that there will be serious consequences for those that attack the party leadership.
Different thematic committees that presented reports at the meeting complained that they are being neglected, adding that they have not yet enjoyed the fruits of independence.
One such speaker was war veteran Munyaradzi Machacha who spoke on the party ideology, warning that the young generation should know that the war vets are the roots of the party.
The war vets, who spoke to Studio 7 after the meeting, said they feel humbled after holding the meeting with Mr. Mugabe, which was widely expected to address his succession. This was not raised at all at the meeting.
Christopher Mutsvangwa, chairperson of the war veterans association, said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting.
The war veterans urged President Mugabe to ensure that they are the bedrock of the party. In his response, the president urged party supporters to unite and avoid factionalism.
The war veterans’ demands for the ruling party to have a political commissar who participated in the liberation struggle of the 1970s, appears to be targeted at senior party officials like Saviour Kasukuwere, who is the current Zanu PF political commissar, Professor Jonathan Moyo and several others believed to be supporting a faction of the party backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband.
This faction is known as Generation 40 or G40. The other group – Team Lacoste - is allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is being backed for the position by the war veterans.