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Zimbabwe War Veterans Withdraw Support for Mugabe

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends a meeting with the country's war veterans in Harare, April, 7, 2016.

War veterans, who were part of the group that signed the Mgagao Declaration in 1975, a document that thrust President Mugabe to the helm of Zanu, say they are now withdrawing their support for the president.

In the declaration, the war veterans passed a vote of no confidence in then leader Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. Mr. Mugabe, who was the Zanu secretary general, replaced Sithole in what was widely regarded as a coup.

Some of the 32 war veterans that signed the declaration met Tuesday and stressed that they are withdrawing their support for President Mugabe.

The group’s spokesman Bernard Manyadza, who was head of military instructors, says Mgagao Declaration was authored with a view that Mugabe leads the war as a the secretary-general until independence.

"This was done with a view that he leads the armed struggle then the congress to confer the presidentship would be done in Zimbabwe," Manyadza says.

He says some of them even contested the 1977 Special Congress which claims to have endorsed Mr. Mugabe as the legitimate Zanu leader.

"But then the unfortunate development that happened sometime is in Mozambique in 1977 end of 1976 there was a meeting that conferred him as the first secretary and president of Zanu which was not very constitutional."

Manyadza adds that they protested it because the people who have effected that on the constitution were supposed to be delegates as was done in 1963 when Zanu was formed.

Manyadza said though this may seem to be just academic, they know the president has already got the message.

Studio 7 was unable to get a comment from presidential spokesman George Charamba whose mobile phone was unreachable.

In a related development, Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan Tsvangirai says President Mugabe should step down for failing to properly run the country.

Tsvangirai told students at the University of Zimbabwe Tuesday that President Mugabe’s party is even failing to account for diamond proceeds worth $15 billion mined by various parties in Manicaland province.

Tsvangirai’s party is expected to stage street protests on Thursday over the missing diamond proceeds.