Mutare – A senior Zimbabwean war veteran, who is now the interim leader of the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, has reportedly described as “better” the repression “under under the whites in the then Rhodesia” than under the current government.

According to New, Retired Brigadier General, Agrippa Mutambara said this while addressing ZimPF party supporters at the Moffat Hall in Mutare over the weekend.

Mutambara said that oppression during the former minority white Rhodesian government was better than that under the current administration of President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (L) shakes hands with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their talks at the latter’s official residence in Tokyo on March 28, 2016.
Mugabe arrived in Japan on March 27 for a five-day official working visit. / AFP / POOL / Kimimasa Mayama

“The level of oppression we fought against during the white minority rule was better than what we are currently experiencing from our own government,” Mutambara was quoted as saying.

He said that it pained him to see “brave” comrades being used by the ruling Zanu-PF to “suppress the same people they sacrificed their lives to liberate”.

Dramatic economic collapse 

Mugabe, 93, has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe gained its independence from British colonialism.

The nonagenarian has over the years been accused of hanging on to power through vote-rigging.

He has ruled through the country’s dramatic economic collapse – hyperinflation wiped out savings more than 10 years ago, unemployment is sky-high and economic output has halved since 2000, when many white-owned farms were seized.

Zanu-PF has already endorsed him as its candidate for the forthcoming 2018 presidential elections.

A NewsDay report quoted Mutambara as saying that Zimbabwe’s problems under Mugabe’s leadership started after the death of his first wife Sally in the early 90s.

“When President Robert Mugabe started leading us, he was a good leader. But his woes started when Sally Mugabe died… We were then given an unrespecting First Lady [Grace Mugabe],” said Mutambara.

Mugabe married Grace four years after his first wife Sally died in 1992.-news24