The Zanu PF leadership and some ruling party supporters in Masvingo province have warned that they will take stern measures against political commissar Francis Nhando of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, who is said to have read a communique at a meeting last week convened by former freedom fighters that blamed President Robert Mugabe for the current economic decay in the southern African nation.
The Zanu PF activists said Nhando and his colleagues, who attended the war veterans meeting in Harare, should leave the province or face public punishment. They urged the government to stop paying their pensions and repossess farms they obtained under Zimbabwe’s land reform program.
Speaking at an emergency meeting held in Chiredzi district to deliberate on the war veterans’ move to dump President Mugabe, Zanu PF Chiredzi West Member of Parliament, Darlington Chiwa, said anyone who no longer wants to support Mr. Mugabe is an enemy of the people.
“What Nhando did is a non-starter. If a person says ‘I no longer want Mugabe’ that means he no longer wants to live. Someone who gets a pension from Mugabe cannot do that. So, if you say that you have declared war. If we meet him in the street and he cannot pick a stone to defend himself then we will bite him.”
Lloyd Simango of Ward Five in Chiredzi said the Zanu PF Youth League is totally opposed to moves by war veterans and people like Nhando to dump war veterans.
“We are going to set a policy that everyone who goes against the president and has benefited something from him we will take that (from him).”
Masvingo provincial chairman, Amasi Nenjana, added that the local leadership has disowned Nhando.
“We are dissociating ourselves from him. I am the chairman of the province and a war veteran. People in Harare are pointing fingers at us for insulting and attacking the president yet all this was done by Nhando. So, we are saying we are not with him he is alone. This is not his first time to insult the president and the first lady. We don’t work with him. Who is he to attack the president?”
Another party supporter, who spoke to Studio 7 but declined to identify himself, said Nhando was now a rebel and should be forced to leave Masvingo province.
“I think he has sold out. He has joined the likes of Mutsvangwa. We cannot in anyway respect any war veteran who goes and denounces the president in the press. So, as Masvingo we are saying we no longer want to see him in the province. He is a sell-out.”
Responding to these attacks, Nhando said he is not afraid of anyone as he fought hard to liberate Zimbabwe.
“I am aware of what they said at the meeting. I am not afraid of anything as I know how I survived until now as I have been in politics for too long and on the war front to liberate this country. All I said was that we are no longer in good books with President Mugabe as war veterans and we cannot go to polls in 2018 supporting him so he should appoint someone if he wants us to support the party.”
The development comes amid escalating tensions between the Zanu PF establishment and war veterans, who last week called for him to step down labeling him dictator that has destroyed Zimbabwe.