War Vets Take On G40

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by Andrew Kunambura

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) are planning a demonstration against a faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party they accuse of playing down their role in the liberation war and plotting to marginalise them 35 years after a protracted bush war to end colonial rule, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report.


A special interest group in the revolutionary party, the ex-combatants are aggrieved by relentless attacks by young Turks linked to a shadowy group identified as Generation 40 (G40), which hopes to renew ZANU-PF from within.
G40 appears to be making headway to renew ZANU-PF following the ouster of former vice president Joice Mujuru and a clique linked to her that included veterans of the liberation struggle, among them, Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.
Nearly 150 ZANU-PF cadres have been cashiered out of the party in the past 14 months on allegations of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.
Post the dramatic December 2014 ZANU-PF congress, it has since become clear that G40 is also opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, another war veteran who succeeded Mujuru. The group is reportedly making frantic efforts to thwart his rise to the country’s top job in the event that the incumbent paves way for a successor.
The Financial Gazette can exclusively reveal that members of the ZNLWVA are planning a massive demonstration in the capital to voice their displeasure with members of G40 in the first clearest sign that, unlike Mujuru who was stampeded out of office without a fight, Mnangagwa’s backers will not take it lying down.
The association is led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, a Mnangagwa ally, who hinted recently that the boisterous war veterans would defend themselves and the revolution against “errant fellows who wormed themselves into the party without ideology”.
The association is led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, a Mnangagwa ally, who hinted recently that the boisterous war veterans would defend themselves and the revolution against “errant fellows who wormed themselves into the party without ideology”.
“Generation 40 is just a nuisance to the party,” Mutsvangwa was quoted saying in a recent interview with a South African television news channel ANN7TV, describing alleged G40 members as “diversionists” and “power-hungry clowns misguided by errant professors from nowhere who have found their way into the party”.
“They absconded the war when sovereignty was at stake. And when there was need for courage and sacrifice to fight for Zimbabwe, they ran away. Now they are trying to bask in new-found glory. They won’t succeed against war veterans, they are too young,” he charged.
The association’s secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, raised the stakes at the weekend, informing a ZANU-PF Midlands Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting held in Gweru on Saturday that the restless former freedom fighters were already mobilising for a showdown with the G40 by way of a demonstration in Harare before the December party annual conference.

 

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He is said to have told the meeting that the demonstration was meant to show that war veterans still had the support of President Mugabe who is their patron.
A source who attended the meeting said Matemadanda indicated that they were mobilising about three million people, a record that would eclipse former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda’s glorified one million men march of 2008.
Matemadanda is said to have openly blasted ZANU-PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is seen as the face of G40, for publicly denigrating them.
Kasukuwere, who apparently ignored calls and text messages to his number throughout the week, angered war veterans in May this year when he labelled them as “a bunch of drunkards and taxi drivers”, after the ex-fighters criticised him for causing confusion in the party and accused him of working with ZANU-PF’s foreign enemies.
They also put Kasukuwere under fire for blocking them from contesting for parliamentary seats in the run up to the June 10 by-elections.
And with the battle for the heart and soul of the party climaxing towards what promises to be an explosive annual conference in December, war veterans are increasingly coming under fire, with public suggestions from top party members that their participation in the 1970s liberation war was not a licence to misbehave.
“Matemadanda told the PCC meeting that the war veterans were in the process of mobilising war veterans for a three million men march to clearly demonstrate that they are supported by the President who is also their patron. He said according to the response the leadership (of the war veterans) has received, there was so much interest that the one million men march organised by Jabulani Sibanda in 2008 is nothing compared to what is coming,” said a member of the Midlands PCC who attended the meeting.
“Matemadanda said the war veterans want to clearly and emphatically re-emphasise their (decisive) role in the liberation of this country,” said the official.
Matemadanda, the official said, pointed out that war veterans wanted to express their anger at “some people who are in high positions because of the sacrifices (war veterans) made” and yet had the cheek to mock them in public.
“Some lost their limbs and others their lives but some people today are enjoying the fruits of those efforts and mock us afterwards. The war was a crucial factor in the liberation of this country and that is what the war veterans will be emphasising,” the official quoted Matemadanda saying.

 

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Matemadanda reportedly warned of drastic consequences to G40 saying: “Those that do not like the war veterans and those spitting at them will only have themselves to blame because the war veterans are not going to be written off easily.”
“You don’t do things that ostracise and put such a critical institution as war veterans in the same category as taxi drivers and drunkards. We agree that people should not abuse their participation in the war to cause havoc but we won’t stand aside and watch as they mock us,” fumed Matemadanda, adding that anyone who disrespects war veterans disrespects the President and many others like Mnangagwa, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi — who is the national secretary for war veterans’ affairs in the Politburo — and commander of the armed forces, Constantine Chiwenga, whom he mentioned by name.Financial Gazette

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