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Zimbabwe War Vets Won't Take Part in Mugabe 'Million Men' March

FILE: An unidentified man who was in jail with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during the liberation struggle, cries, as he greets him, during celebrations to mark his 92nd Birthday celebrations in Masvingo about 300 kilometres south of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Some war veterans say they will not take part in the so-called one-million-men-march set for next week organized by Zanu PF youth to show their support for President Robert Mugabe.

The former freedom fighters, numbering more than 500, gathered in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province, Saturday and stressed that they were unhappy about the tension between the Zanu PF Youth League and war veterans.

The war veterans said a party group calling itself Generation 40 or G40, said to be sympathetic to First Lady Grace Mugabe, has allegedly finally realized that she cannot lead a faction in Zimbabwe.

Secretary general of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, said members of the G40, who have no history of the liberation struggle, took advantage of the communication breakdown between the former fighters and first family before they met with President Mugabe last month, to divide the party.

Matemadanda claimed that Mrs. Mugabe, touted by G40 as President Mugabe’s successor, has realized that she cannot lead a faction when she is the mother of the nation. The other faction is allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who like Mrs. Mugabe, has denied having any presidential ambitions.

Matemadanda said the war veterans are not going to be part of what he described as a poorly mobilized one-million-men march because they don’t want to be associated with failure.

He said some elements within the G40 faction want to use them in a last minute effort to save the much-publicized event.

The war veterans, whose meeting was punctuated with a lot of “Down with G40” slogans, said some power hungry Zanu PF members are trying to cause confusion in the party by claiming that certain individuals want to assassinate the president.

They added that the people making those claims should be arrested and forced to release the names of the alleged culprits.

Sanyati lawmaker and national war veterans secretary for business development, Runesu Blessed Geza, claimed that Zanu PF supporters, “who are spreading lies to the nation that there are people who want to kill the president”, must provide tangible evidence to the police or risk being arrested themselves for causing alarm in the country.

War Veterans Association’s consultative committee member for Kadoma, Jimaya Muduvuri, who is on whirlwind tour of provinces, said it is now clear that Mnangagwa and Mrs. Mugabe don’t lead any ruling party factions.

Jamaya, who is claiming to have been sent by Mnangagwa to articulate his views, stressed that the vice president won’t try to take over the Zanu PF leadership when President Mugabe is still alive.

“I asked the vice president about this talk that he wants to wrestle power from the president while he is still around until 2023 but the vice president said he is not interested in that since he has been with President Mugabe for a long time. In fact, he told me that he respects the president,” said Jamaya, who claimed to be a relative of the vice president.

Geza said there is nothing wrong with Mnangagwa succeeding President Mugabe as long as that post is vacant.

The war veterans further urged G40 members such as lawmaker Sarah Mahoka, who once told Mnangagwa to come out clean on allegations that he wanted to allegedly topple President Mugabe, to step down.

Contacted for comment, Mahoka said the war vets are misrepresenting facts and challenged them to come and contest her if they think they are more popular than her in Hurungwe.

“Mai (Mrs.) Mahoka won’t be intimidated by anyone. I want real men to come and challenge me and see what will happen.””

Report on War Vets Filed By Arthur Chigoriwo
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