Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda says November 18 should be declared a public holiday to celebrate the gains of Operation Restore Legacy, which ushered in a new political dispensation.
Addressing hundreds of war veterans, collaborators, widows of war veterans and their children as well as Zanu-PF Matabeleland North members at the party’s provincial offices here yesterday, Cde Matemadanda said plans were underway to hold national victory celebrations.
He rebuked former president Robert Mugabe for criticising the new dispensation saying he (Mugabe) was dreaming to think that his rule could be restored.
Cde Matemadanda said Operation Restore Legacy would not have been a success if Zimbabweans had not been united for a national cause.
“Some people are calling for a return of Mugabe regime alleging he loved them better than the way President Mnangagwa does, but I want to say it’s foolish to think that Mugabe will come back to rule.
“That’s just a show of desperation from comrades who don’t have orientation,” said Cde Matemadanda.
“When we as the war veterans association made a resolution to remove Mugabe, the same was adopted by Zanu-PF.
“We knew we could be killed for saying all the Grace Mugabe nonsense, but would we have been paid with our lives? No. We were sacrificing ourselves because of the orientation we had.
“We fought for this legacy and we want to thank Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide for supporting this national cause.
“We propose that November 18 be declared a national purpose day to thank people of Zimbabwe who joined in the march in saying Mugabe must go regardless of race, political affiliation and tribe.”
Cde Matemadanda said he and “some generals” whom he didn’t name, would have been killed if people had not joined in the call for the former president to go.
He added that the new political dispensation was grateful to the people of Zimbabwe for also facilitating President Mnangagwa’s return from exile after his brief expulsion from Zanu-PF.
“As the SG for war veterans association, I will invite all Zimbabweans to a celebration party where no slogans will be chanted, to thank people for the job they did. It’s the people of Zimbabwe who also facilitated the return of the President from exile,” said Cde Matemadanda.
He said people were being paid to discredit the new dispensation hence the war veterans’ association was given the mandate to spearhead the campaign for President Mnangagwa and the party’s landslide victory in the upcoming elections.
Cde Matemadanda said Zanu-PF was weak without war veterans, which is why it lost the Norton seat to an independent candidate, Mr Temba Mliswa.
Commenting on reports in sections of the private media in which the former president allegedly attempted to discredit President Mnangagwa, Cde Matemadanda said: “Mugabe will always do that because he thinks he is better than anyone and represents the whole electorate who he thinks can vote for his wife. He is very old and we can forgive him because of his age.”
Cde Matemadanda said Cde Mugabe was a ruler who, just like Ian Smith, “lived in a mansion and made decisions without consulting and punished people for mistakes” while President Mnangagwa was a team player who is always with the people and makes informed decisions.
He implored Zanu-PF not to make similar (electoral) mistakes, adding that his visit to the province was aimed at deploying war combatants into the party’s grassroots to mobilise members as well as vie for positions.
“I have come for deployment and you should go back and explain to the people the reason why we say this Zanu-PF party is King Lobengula and Mbuya Nehanda’s party.
“When we talk of restoring legacy we are talking about restoring the African respect that was stolen by colonisers,” he added.