18 March 2016

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Panics, Pledges to Pacify Restive War Vets and Countrywide Rallies

Photo: The Herald
Former Vice President of Zimbabwe Joice Mujuru.

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe also showed signs he was feeling the pressure when he finally seemed to be taking over party rallies from his wife, Grace whose controversial provincial toured were viewed as divisive.

Mugabe blasted a group of hawkish war veterans led by fired Minister and current chair Christopher Mutsvangwa, adding they should not be bossy and try to impose themselves on Zanu PF politics.

Mugabe said the war veterans must "toe the line".

"We never said war veterans, by virtue of having fought the war, would then start to rule; we said the gun must be commanded by politics," Mugabe said in Shona.

"If there are some who have strayed, that is what we are trying to address."

The 92-year-old leader said he will not bow down to pressure from some of his loyalists who now want him to vacate state house before he could complete his current term.

He then promised to meet them war veterans in Harare to hear their grievances.

"War veterans, you will be given a date to come to Harare beginning of April for us to talk. Please don't be intimidated; come and say what is in your hearts," Mugabe said at a rally he addressed at Chipadze stadium.

War veterans have been restive since police used water cannons and teargas to disperse them when they had gathered in Harare weeks ago for an address by their embattled national chair and then Minister Mutsvangwa.

Mutsvangwa was fired from the job two weeks ago for alleged gross indiscipline and insubordination.

The firebrand former Zimbabwean ambassador to China never took his embarrassing expulsion lightly and has been spotted with predecessor Jabulani Sibanda, now a party enemy, having been dislodged from the party together with some party bigwigs.

When they were attacked, the country's former liberators singled out Mugabe's wife as the main cause of the current instability within the party.

Grace was accused of usurping the powers of the President through her mad rants towards party rivals she accused of attempting to dethrone her husband.

In her diatribes, Grace targeted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has failed to camouflage his ambitions to succeed Mugabe.

Since the debacle, the elderly statesman took a lot bashing from his once trusted support base. Some have recently seen pledging loyalty to ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru and her ZPF party.

During his rally, President Mugabe said he would start holding countrywide rallies to identify potential spots for the establishment of irrigation schemes.

Friday rally, coupled with promises to roll out more countrywide, are seen as a desperate attempt to try and contain growing resentment towards the veteran's leadership style, which has seen him expel any party loyalist he felt were not toeing the line.

Mugabe was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers Saviour Kasukwere, Jonathan Moyo, Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha among others.

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