HARARE – Former Zanu PF youth league boss and the leader of war collaborators Pupurayi Togarepi has thrown lavish praises on President Robert Mugabe, who turns 93 next week, claiming that the nonagenarian is actually fitter than most 50-year-olds.
In a wide ranging interview with the Daily News, Togarepi also rejected suggestions that he is a member of the Team Lacoste faction that is presumptively led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Asked how Mugabe who is facing increased pressure from both his party and opposition to unveil a succession plan — can revive the economy that critics say he singlehandedly destroyed — Togarepi said the 92-year-old has the capacity to take Zimbabwe forward.
“The president has the capacity and any delays in government there are reasons, he is one of the strongest people I have seen.., he can run faster than me. As far as we are concerned the choice is his but as cadres we are firmly behind him.”
With some war collaborators now publicly stating their anger at the failure by government to pay their monthly allowances as provided in the Constitution, Togarepi urged for calm saying when people went to war they did not do so for material reasons.
“… I am concerned we don’t want to go to the extent of dumping the revolution, we can’t help ourselves but there should be calm and discipline, we are fully behind Zanu PF and its leader as war collaborators and we will continue …,” said Togarepi.
Recently, a group of dissatisfied war collaborators indicated that they would not vote Zanu PF in 2018 as the ruling party has failed to honour its obligations, however, seemingly currying favour with the establishment, Togarepi urged his followers to give government time considering that the economy is crumbling.
“We did not go to war to be rich but we would like to call upon government to fulfil its promises because we are not getting younger …,” said Togarepi, who was kicked out from Zanu PF last year on hazy allegations and claimed that although he is on the sidelines he is not bitter.
Togarepi’s successor Kudzanai Chipanga recently torched a storm when he said Mugabe should be succeeded by his wife Grace, and also threatened to take up arms if the youths’ aspirations were not fulfilled, but the soft spoken war collaborators’ leader said democracy should be used when the question on who will succeed Mugabe arises.
“…of course the youths are excitable and can do so many things but I believe that energy should be channelled elsewhere. We fought during the liberation struggle but now we will use democracy to put people in power not arms,” said Togarepi.