WAR veterans have temporarily shelved their bitterness with President Robert Mugabe and offered to back his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe in her bid to wrestle the Harare South parliamentary seat from the incumbent, Shadreck Mashayamombe.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa told NewsDay yesterday he had received calls from his members to consult on the possibility of supporting Grace’s bid to take over the Harare South seat.
“It is true, ZNLWVA is busy consulting. They would want Harare South seat reserved for the First Lady.
They are keen to go in full force to campaign for her,” he said, adding they were prepared to forgive Grace and forge an alliance with her to frustrate the G40 faction.
“We are receiving calls from the membership offended by (Local Government minister Saviour) Kasukuwere’s sinjonjo dance at Chiweshe rally last year. Ndiani asina tsika anotamba sinjonjo nemukadzi wasabhuku (who is that without manners who engages in indecent dance with the village head’s wife),” Mutsvangwa said.
War veterans fell out with Mugabe in July last year after they released a damning communique, where they described the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader as “genocidal and dictatorial”.
After months of frosty relations with Mugabe and his family, the former fighters said they now believed their enemy was not the Zanu PF leader, but leading figures in the G40, among them Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
In a sudden turn of events, G40 senior figures have found themselves under attack from their matriarch, in what analysts believed could be a political re-alignment in the ongoing fight to succeed Mugabe.
Kasukuwere has seen his political fortunes wane over accusations he has established parallel structures with a view to toppling Mugabe, while his erstwhile storm-troopers in the powerful women’s league Sarah Mahoka and Eunice Sandi-Moyo have since lost their positions as treasurer and deputy politburo secretary respectively.
Reports have indicated that Grace has set her eyes on Harare South and “told Mashayamombe to find another constituency”.
Mashayamombe, whose youths were reportedly involved in intra-party violent clashes at the weekend could not be reached for comment yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Mutsvangwa said Grace could benefit from the mayhem within the G40 faction that has reportedly been pushing for her to take over from the ailing Mugabe.
“As the popular anger of rank and file of cadres forces the President and the politburo to act, First Lady may harvest a hitherto unimagined political windfall. A revolving door could see war veterans marshal their tried and tested political credentials, pedigree and acumen all to her benefit should she decide as mooted to go for the Harare South party primaries against the troubled Mashayamombe, who is now precariously hanging on the precipice,” Mutsvangwa said.
The war veterans’ leader indicated that the former fighters were willing to labour to ensure a Grace-win.
“Indeed the choice is now entirely hers to make, after all it is now a no brainer to judge the flow of political winds and expeditiously dump the G40. She is still young and her political mis-steps are viewed as merely venal as opposed to cardinal by the war veterans. The latter have G40 firmly and squarely in their bull’s eye. She is viewed as having an upside potential that can still be a positive force. Give it to her; she is not in the clutches of the unrepentant enemies of the nation Jonathan Moyo, Kasukuwere and (Patrick) Zhuwao,” the ex-Cabinet minister said.
Mugabe has also consistently called the former fighters to order and in his latest rant that solicited an angry rebuke from the war veterans, the Zanu PF leader last week told mourners at the burial of national hero Retired Brigadier-General James Murozvi that the fact that they fought in the liberation struggle gave them no right to dictate the country’s leadership structure.