A faction of former liberation war fighters, loyal to national chairman and War Veterans Minister, Chris Mutsvangwa, says its meeting that was disrupted by riot police two weeks ago will now be held sometime this week in Harare.
It is not clear whether another faction allegedly supported by First Lady, Grace Mugabe, would attend the indaba slated for the City Sports Centre.
At a press briefing late Monday afternoon, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, said the main objective of the meeting would be the setting up of a military commission that would, among other issues, advise the ruling party and the ruling party’s Politburo and help protect the country’s legacy.
Matemadanda said this commission won’t be unique only to Zimbabwe as other countries such as Tanzania and China have similar institutions with similar roles.
Mandi Chimene, chairperson of the other faction of the former liberation war veterans, was not available for comment on whether they subscribe to the idea of the proposed military commission.
FILE: Police spray water on demonstrating war veterans.
Asked whether war veterans were coming up with the recommendation because the party had allegedly lost direction, Matemadanda said it was meant to strengthen it.
Independent political analyst, Fortune Gwaze, said their timing of the proposal was questionable as the war veterans seem not to agree with the goings-on in the ruling party.
“By forming this joint commission it’s a way of trying to close those loopholes or trying to direct this ship in another intended direction.”
He, however, said the war veterans are likely to succeed in what they are looking for, taking into account that their patron, President Robert Mugabe who threatened Mutsvangwa for organizing an illegal war veterans meeting a week ago, has given in to most of their demands, including the formation of former fighters’ ministry.
“If it’s something that they already have or if it’s something that is not in tandem with the interests of the presidium itself then that proposal may be shot down.”
Media Centre director, Ernest Mudzengi, said there was really no national cause for such a military commission, given that there was a full cabinet ministry to deal with their issues.
“If this was a really needed commission, they should have talked about in the long back,” said Mudzengi.
FILE: Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu PF war veterans march past the US Embassy holding placards condemning sanctions against their government in Harare, Zimbabwe, Apr 23, 2010.
Defense Minister and Zanu PF secretary for war veterans, Sydney Sekeramayi, is quoted in the state controlled Herald newspaper as saying the meeting should be held in the spirit of unity discipline.
Experts say Sekeramayi is simply reiterating Mr. Mugabe’s recent speech following the disruption of an earlier meeting which was supposed to be held on February 18th and his birthday speech in Masvingo at the weekend.