HARARE – Zimbabwe’s security commanders, majority who are war veterans, were conspicuous by their absence at Wednesday’s solidarity meeting which was addressed by President Robert Mugabe.
Analysts have been quick to say this was significant given the importance of the meeting to Mugabe who hastily arranged a meeting with a faction of the war veterans at the party’s headquarters in a bid to shore up his waning support.
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Security commanders rarely attend party meetings but were heavily involved in the organisation and subsequent meeting of Mugabe and the larger group of war veterans in April at the City Sports Centre.
“Remember these are also war veterans. So for them to be absent at a meeting where their patron is addressing is a big deal let alone where the patron is Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces,” said political analyst Maxwell Saungweme.
Mugabe last week was denounced by the war veterans who announced they were ending their 41 year relationship after growing disillusioned by the nonagenarian.
The Zanu PF leader organised a solidarity meeting on Wednesday which was attended by war veterans opposed to the elected executive led by Christopher Mutsvangwa.
The security sector, just like any other department of government, is packed with war veterans who are members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans (ZNLWVA) which met in Masvingo in 2014 to elect Mutsvangwa and his executive.
Human Rights lawyer and analyst Dewa Mavhinga said the meeting between Mugabe and war veterans was nothing but a window dressing show that instead of healing a divided Zanu PF, actually worsened the fallout.
“It seems the views by war veterans that Mugabe should step down may be representative of the views of the army generals hence their absence from Mugabe’s meeting on Wednesday,” said Mavhinga.
On Wednesday, Mugabe railed against Mutsvangwa and his entire executive, accusing them of working to destabilise Zanu PF and government.
He vowed to punish them over their ‘ruinous’ communiqué which he said had been distributed internationally to sully his reputation and gift enemies of his government with an opportunity to effect regime change.
Hours after his address, police swooped on the leadership of the Mutsvangwa-led executive by storming the home of ZNLWVA spokesperson — Douglas Mahiya — where detectives allegedly imposed “a mini curfew” to the his family.
Mahiya, who was not at home that time, surrendered himself to the police after learning of the police presence at his residence.
Yesterday, ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda was also arrested when police descended on him home in Gokwe.
In both cases, police are yet to make public the charges the war veterans’ leaders are facing.-Dailynews