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Zimbabwe War Veterans Urge VP Mphoko, Top Zanu PF Officials to Step Down

  • Arthur Chigoriwo

FILE: Supporters of Zimbabwean president and Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe are seen at his last campaign rally in Harare, July, 28, 2013.

FILE: Supporters of Zimbabwean president and Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe are seen at his last campaign rally in Harare, July, 28, 2013.

Some war veterans say they want Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and others associated with Generation 40 to be expelled from the ruling party.

These war veterans have already indicated that a planned meeting with President Robert Mugabe early next month is expected to shape democratic processes in Zimbabwe.

Addressing hundreds of former freedom fighters in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province on Saturday, former War Veterans Minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, said their proposed meeting with President Mugabe will have a far-reaching impact on how Zimbabwe is expected to be governed by the ruling party.

Mutsvangwa said the war veterans created the conditions for Zanu PF to flourish in the country and President Mugabe cannot afford to dump them.

Mutsvangwa said his organization has made resolutions to force President Mugabe to expel people like Zanu PF political commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere, politburo members Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Hurungwe West Member of Parliament Sarah Mahoka, who are backing a faction known as Generation 40 or G40, believed to be a front for First Lady Grace Mugabe.

The group allegedly wants Mrs. Mugabe to succeed her husband. The other group calling itself Team Lacoste is said to be backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the presidential post. The first lady and Mnangagwa have said they don’t have any presidential ambitions.

Mutsvangwa accused G40 members of trying to destroy the ruling party.

Moyo, Mahoka, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao were not available for comment as their mobile phones were not reachable.

Speaking at the same meeting, Midlands war veteran, Francis Zimuto, affectionately known as Black Jesus, said President Mugabe belongs to former freedom fighters and not G40.

Zimuto said they will fight to regain President Mugabe on their side and endorsed Mutsvangwa as their leader until the next congress in 2018.

The meeting, attended by war veterans from eight provinces, also resolved that no war veteran should be expelled from Zanu PF because they sacrificed their lives to liberate Zimbabwe from the yoke of colonialism.

The war veterans also said that they don’t want President Mugabe to step down.

Mutsvangwa noted that the meeting will be attended by Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga, former Five Brigade commander and current Airforce chief Vice Marshall Perence Shiri, army commander General Phillip Valerie Sibanda, Prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and several others.

Mutsvangwa was recently expelled from the ruling party and sacked by the president for allegedly insulting the first family and undermining the authority of the president after he criticized Zanu PF for allowing Mrs. Mugabe to brutalize party members.

Mrs. Mugabe attacked Mnangagwa for allegedly hatching a plan to undemocratically unseat the president.

The recent firing of Mutsvangwa has unsettled war veterans, who were on the receiving end recently when police with baton sticks and water cannons descended on them as they attempted to convene an indaba in Harare to discuss, among other issues, President Mugabe's succession.

While they are still dusting themselves from that violent encounter, President Mugabe on Friday said he does not understand why some of the war veterans want him to step down as he was democratically elected in 2013. Mr. Mugabe said he will step down if ever that is necessary but has to serve his five-year term as stipulated in Zimbabwe’s constitution.