HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has reportedly engaged army generals imploring them to diplomatically engage restive members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (Znlwva) and urge them to dissolve its executive, it has emerged.
The Daily News can report that the army chiefs met with the Znlwva leadership on Thursday last week, just a day after the raging ex-combatants declared that they were deploying machinery on the ground to campaign against Mugabe and his Zanu PF ahead of next year’s general elections.
The declaration came after Zanu PF announced plans to convene an extraordinary Znlwva congress with the aim of removing the association’s executive.
Targeted for the axe are Znlwva chairperson Chris Mutsvangwa, his deputy Headman Moyo, secretary general Victor Matemadanda, political commissar Francis Nhando and the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya.
They were expelled from the ruling party last year for their sharp criticisms of the Zanu PF leadership.
Mugabe’s diplomatic overtures appear to contradict some of his Zanu PF lieutenants who apparently prefer open confrontation with the former freedom fighters.
It, however, emerged that the meeting which was held between the generals and Mutsvangwa’s executive yielded no result with the war veterans sticking to their guns, arguing that they will not listen to any attempts to disband the executive outside their congress which is only due in 2019.
The former freedom fighters also turned down a proposal by the generals to meet with permanent secretary in the ministry of War Veterans, Walter Tapfumaneyi over the matter.
Mutsvangwa confirmed yesterday that his executive met the generals on Thursday last week.
“Representatives of my executive met the generals. We meet with the generals regularly and in that meeting, the generals pointed out that they were under pressure to ensure that we do as Zanu PF desires,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The pressure is being transmitted from Cabinet, and the Zanu PF politburo to reluctant minister Tshinga Dube. So we rightly accepted to meet the generals and accepted to send emissaries to politely listen to our war veteran stakeholders in uniform. We contemptuously dismissed meeting with G40-affiliated permanent secretary Tapfumaneyi,” he said.
G40 refers to a faction in Zanu PF which is engaged in a deadly factional battle with another grouping known as Team Lacoste over who should succeed Mugabe when he exits the political arena.
Mutsvangwa’s executive is aligned to Team Lacoste, which is doing the bidding for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
They have made it clear that they will not countenance a situation where Mugabe anoints a successor other than the Midlands godfather while on the other hand G40, comprising mainly of younger politicians is torn between Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace, and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.
Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party are due to contest a crucial general election next year against a coalition led by his long-time foe, Morgan Tsvangirai.