PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe blew hot and cold yesterday, as he blasted war veterans and pleaded for support from his erstwhile colleagues, who have all but dumped him as their preferred candidate in the 2018 general elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Speaking at the burial of the late Retired Brigadier-General James Murozvi at the National Heroes’ Acre, Mugabe said war veterans should follow the example set by the national hero.
“He was quiet and respectable and he respected his government, he never opposed or criticised to say the government is failing. He was calm, very different in his actions to those who think that since they are war veterans they have the right to rule and direct things in a manner that they want, no, he followed party principles,” he said.
Mugabe warned that war veterans had no right to direct Zanu PF, although they remain an integral part of the party and that the former
freedom fighters have to wait to be given positions.
“We are war veterans, yes, we are back from fighting for the people of Zimbabwe. We have a party that leads us, not us leading the party,” he said.
“In that party, yes, we look forward, as war veterans that we are recognised for the work we did and if we get posts, we then get them and be agreeable to the agreement that we always had that politics leads the gun, so he (Murozvi) was a straightforward person.
“This is what I plead we should do, for us to have love and understanding for each other, so that we know the principles of the party in that we are not different from the common person … there should be no difference, we should be united under Zanu PF.”
Mugabe said Murozvi’s death was a huge loss to his party and the military because of his loyalty.
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube said, while Mugabe, as their leader, had the right to admonish war veterans for being wayward, it was also important for the leadership to address their concerns.
“We are doing our best to make sure that they maintain the same discipline that they had when they were trained, but, as we say sometimes, if the President says so, we have to correct ourselves,” he said.
“As I said earlier, as Napoleon says, you don’t find bad soldiers, you find bad officers, so sometimes we have to look at both sides to see that our leaders are also doing their best.”
Dube said war veterans remained the crux of Zanu PF and would play an important role in the 2018 elections because the differences that had seen them divorce from Zanu PF would have been resolved.
“The President was only advising us to be disciplined. As our leader, he has the right to tell us because some go off the rails and say certain things, which they are not supposed to say,” he said.
In an interview after the burial, war veterans’ chairman, Chris Mutsvangwa, said they would not want to use a funeral to “settle scores”.
“It was a solemn occasion and I would not desecrate a respected comrade by using his coffin to settle scores regardless of how I might feel. He was not G40 and had no sympathies for G40,” he said.
“I recall sitting near two G40 kingpins, including the trouble(d) (Saviour) Kasukuwere. He did not hide his contented animation on the remarks about war veterans. That, to me, is the litmus test. So I will not descend to the level of their morbid depravity.”