Thursday, 8 December 2016

War vets demand to meet Mugabe - they must never again be given the veto. By P Guramatunhu

“Members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) are seeking another crisis indaba with their former patron, President Robert Mugabe before the end of the year over their unmet demands,” reported Fingaz.

“The highly irritable ex-combatants had a meeting with the President on April 7 this year, their first in 20 years, where they presented a long list of grievances.”

We all know what happened at their first meeting twenty years ago; the war veterans presented an equally long list of grievances but all with one common theme – the war veterans were poor and they too wanted a share of the looted wealth President Mugabe and his ruling elite were enjoying. President Mugabe promised them a share of the loot and made a down payment of Z$50 000 on condition that the war veterans help keep him and Zanu PF in power.

The Z$ 50 000 payment was unbudgeted and resulted in a warping 70% one-day devaluation of the Z$; the nation was on the slippery slope leading to the scrapping of the Z$ in 2008 when inflation peaked at 500 billion percent.

On the political front the war veterans took up their role of keeping Mugabe and Zanu PF in power with demonic zeal. The war veterans, led by thugs like Jabulani Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba, rod roughshod over the ordinary people denying them their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to free and fair elections and even the right to life.

In a cruel twist of fate, the war veterans have become the victims of their own political success. Whilst they share the credit of helping Zanu PF rig elections and thus extend the regime’s stay in power; the regime used its extended stay to drag the nation deeper and deeper into economic trouble. 36 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption has resulted in total economic meltdown sending unemployment soaring to 90%, public health and education services have all but collapsed, etc. Poverty, hunger, disease and death rule the land and war veterans have not been spare the economic hardships and misery.

When the war veterans met President Mugabe in April this year their list of grievances had not changed much from the 1996 list – they were still poor and were demanding a share of the looted wealth Mugabe and his inner circle were enjoying. The only new addition on the list was the demand for G40 leaders to be fired.

The war veterans have since the April meeting stated that they are “the stockholders of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe and everyone else are stakeholders who come and go!” In other words, they have the veto on who leads Zanu PF and the country, the rest of us have a vote which can be overruled with the veto. They since turned up the pressure, they now want President Mugabe to step down and allow Mnangagwa to take over.

It is tempting to see the escalating show down between the Mutsvangwa led war veterans and President Mugabe as proof of warning power of the later. Many Zimbabweans have been yearning to see Mugabe go and therefore will be very pleased to see that finally happen. We should, however, be concerned about what happens next!

Will Mutsvangwa and his band of war veterans, emboldened by their success in pushing Mugabe out of office, not seek to impose Mnangagwa just as ruthlessly as they have imposed Mugabe for the last 20 years on the grounds they are “stockholders of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe”?

We must never lose sight of the fact Zimbabwe is in this hell-hole because the nation was stuck all these last 36 years with a corrupt and tyrannical regime. Mutsvangwa and his band of war veterans are insisting on blaming President Mugabe and a select few in his inner circle to blame for the country’s economic mess because they do not want the dictatorship completely dismantled and lose the veto power. It is nonsense that individuals like VP Mnangagwa and Mutsvangwa himself as a former cabinet minister have not played a role in Zimbabwe’s economic mess. It will be folly to believe that removal of Mugabe and one or two others will be enough to end the mismanagement, corruption and greed, the cancers killing the nation.

Zimbabwe’s deep rooted economic and political mess demand a holistic solution which is the complete overhaul of our corrupt and tyrannically political system and the restoration of every citizen’s freedoms and rights including the right to free and fair elections. The nation is grateful to the war veterans for their selfless sacrifice in the fight for independence but to grant them a veto on who rules the country will make a mockery of their claim as having liberated the people when all they did is make themselves the new oppressors.


Nomusa Garikai said...

Corruption is one of the greatest ills in Zimbabwe society. What has made it such a devastating problem is that it did not just affect one or two individuals in a group but the whole group.

Margaret Dongo was right in say Zanu PF leaders right up to cabinet ministers "vakadzi vaMugabe" (are Mugabe's subservient concubines). Zanu PF leaders have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to all the looting and murders that have destroyed the nation all these years because as long as Mugabe paid them to see nothing and hear nothing they saw nothing and heard nothing.

Joice Mujuru has been telling everyone that she saw nothing for 34 years because her “puppy eyes” had not opened; the truth is she and her late husband got their lion’s share of the looted wealth – that was superglue that has kept her eyes shut.

The nation thought that MDC would be a breath of fresh air; it is sad that MDC failed to implement even one reform. This was the single most important task MDC was asked to do in the five years of the GNU and they failed to get even one reform implemented. SADC leaders tried they best to get MDC to implement the reforms but even they were ignored.

MDC leaders “were busy enjoying themselves they forgot why they were in the GNU,” SADC leaders commented!

It was unbelievable that President Mugabe managed to bribe all the MDC leaders to kick the reforms into the tall grass but he clearly did! He got the MDC leaders on the gravy train and for Tsvangirai, he added the $4 million Highlands mansion and ALL the MDC leaders were in his pocket!

The minute most of the war veterans got the Z$ 50 000 gratuity in 1996 many of them forgot about free vote and one-person-one-vote, one of the pillar stone independence. As a black person we had all found it intolerable that blacks were denied a free vote and the war of independence was to end this injustice. It is sad that so many war veterans did not see the injustice of no regime change they we were promoting. The Z$50 000 superglued their eyes!

War veterans like Mutsvangwa and Mahiya still do not see the inherent injustice of the no regime change mantra per se what they are objecting to is that they are not getting a fair share of the looted wealth! They have completely failed to see that the corrupt and tyrannical system is by nature wasteful of both human and material resources and therefore is doom to create mass poverty with a sprinkling of the few super rich!

The war veterans are just another layer of Zimbabwe’s greedy and corrupt society and it would be folly to allow them to continue deny the people their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections. Zimbabwe must implement the democratic reforms of the security services, Judiciary, Public Media and all the corrupted public institutions and quasi private institutions like the war veterans association and cure them all of the corruption that has rendered them enemies of the people, justice and all that is good.

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

@ Cde in diaspora

During the war it was hard to distinguish those who believed in independence and freedom for all from the mercenaries who were fighting to replace the white as the next oppressors. There is no doubt that President Mugabe, his ruling elite and war veterans like Mutsvangwa and Sibanda were mercenaries and even now with the nation in a mess and thousands killed for selfish political gain they still consider themselves special and continued to fight for their privileged position including denying others their freedoms and basic rights.

There is no difference between Mutsvangwa and Mugabe other than that one is occupied a more senior position than the other in the Zanu PF mafia family tree. They are both ruthless thugs who care about themselves and everyone else can go hang! No nation can ever do well when it is ruled by such ruthless thugs and that is why both Mugabe and Mutsvangwa must go!

Patrick Guramatunhu said...

@ Ndangana

Well they did end white colonial rule, it was for us to make sure they did not remove the white oppressors only to become the new oppressor. It was up to us to make sure the freedoms and human rights we fought for before independence were enjoyed by all after independence. If that did not happen, it was for us all to continue the fight for freedom and human rights for all.

Who is stopping us fighting the good fight now!

After 36 years we cannot escape the basic reality that we got the government we deserve! President Mugabe has become a corrupt and murderous tyrant but only because, by doing nothing to stop him, we have per se allowed him to be a tyrant!