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Zimbabwe war veterans in witch-hunt

by Staff reporter
29 Jun 2022 at 07:50hrs | Views
WAR veterans are re-structuring in an exercise expected to claim some scalps to weed out "rogue" elements that "could disrupt" President Emmerson Mnangagwa's chances of being re-elected next year.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is preparing to conduct elections across the country's 10 provinces to usher in new leadership.

The elections will be held before the ruling Zanu-PF congress slated for October.

ZNLWVA Manicaland provincial chairman Gift Kagweda yesterday confirmed the restructuring exercise.

"Restructuring will start from the grassroots. Thereafter, we will have provincial elections and that will see some of our affiliates taking part. Since we are an organ of Zanu-PF, we are going to meet the commissariat department very soon, which is going to help us in our preparations," Kagweda said.

Sources within the former freedom fighters said the restructuring exercise was meant to deal with rogue elements among the war veterans leadership.

"You know, some of the war veterans are not happy because they have also been affected by the poor performance of the economy and President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa is aware of that, and he is willing to see some rogue elements in leadership positions dealt with before the congress and the 2023 elections," the source said.

Some of the ZNLWVA affiliates are the Zimbabwe Political Prisoners Detainees Association, war collaborators and non-combatants among others.

Mnangagwa is eager to consolidate power ahead of the party's annual congress, having already been endorsed as the sole ruling party candidate by the party's youth and women's league groups.

Mnangagwa's deputy Constantino Chiwenga is reportedly harbouring ambitions to challenge his boss ahead of next year's polls, which has fuelled the divisions.

ZNLWVA national chairperson and Zanu-PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said Mnangagwa was the party's sole candidate for the 2023 elections.

"Now that the women's league national congress is over and they have been re-energised and are ready to mobile ahead of the 2023 elections, our President Mnangagwa remains our sole candidate in the next year's elections. The war veterans are also an important organ of the party as you are aware that Zanu-PF has a military background and we always preach unity in the party," he said.

Early this year, Mutsvangwa replaced national war veterans political commissar Joel Mureremba with Zanu-PF MP Joseph Chinotimba (Buhera South) who was, however, at loggerheads with Mnangagwa last month after alleging that the President was working on removing him from his constituency.

Mureremba was believed to be working with Chiwenga's faction.

Recently, government announced a number of freebies for the ex-combatants to oil them for what many believe would be a campaign of terror reminiscent of the 2008 re-run horror spearheaded by the former freedom fighters.

The growing trend by Zanu-PF to turn to war veterans for support towards the elections coupled with government freebies has prompted critics to accuse the ruling party of selfishly abusing the former guerrilla war fighters to remain in power.

The ex-combatants themselves have also acted like mercenaries by not hesitating to hold the nation to ransom by perennially demanding compensation for their role in the liberation struggle.

In 1997, angry war veterans pressured the late former President Robert Mugabe to pay them $50 000 gratuities each and other benefits for their role in the liberation struggle, which sent the Zimbabwe dollar plunging 72% to the United States dollar.

This year, government vetted the war veterans, collaborators and detainees and is likely to pay them gratuities.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe