18 March 2017

Zimbabwe: Pro-Mnangagwa Vets Approach Dabengwa

Photo: The Herald
Dumiso Dabengwa (file photo).

THE Zanu PF faction aligned to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is reportedly making overtures to ZAPU regarding a possible coalition ahead of next year's general election.

Mnangagwa supposedly heads the so-called Team Lacoste faction in the ruling party and is backed by the leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).

The vice president is facing stiff resistance from the G40 Zanu PF faction which is thought to have the support of President Robert Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace.

According to sources privy to the developments, the ZNLWVA leadership has been talking the ZIPRA war veterans' association which is aligned to Dabengwa and ZAPU.

ZIPRA war veterans severed ties with ZNLWVA last May, accusing the latter of pre-occupying itself with Zanu PF's succession and factional fights while neglecting the welfare of members.

However, a ZNLWVA delegation was recently in Bulawayo and met ZIPRA leaders and ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa.

Dabengwa confirmed the meeting but insisted that it had nothing to do with Mnangagwa and his purported presidential ambitions.

Still, well-placed sources within both veterans' associations and Mnangagwa's camp were adamant that the meeting discussed the possibility of working together to take over power after Mugabe.

"Last Friday ZNLWVA guys came to my office requesting a meeting with the ZIPRA Veterans Association leadership," Dabengwa told reporters at his party's offices in Bulawayo.

"They said they wanted to discuss the welfare of war veterans. After meeting them, I immediately called Ben Ncube, (our) association's chairperson and linked them with him.

"So, as for what they discussed, I am not aware. You can ask Ncube."

According to Dabengwa, Mnangagwa ally and ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya was part of the ZNLWVA delegation.

Sources said the mooted alliance assumes that President Robert Mugabe will not be able to contest next year's elections due to a combination of old age and poor health. The veteran leader turned 93 last month.

"Mnangagwa prefers to work with ZAPU than G40 after the Mugabe era. This is why he sent his emissaries to court Dabengwa to work with him in his bid to succeed Mugabe.

"To him, Dabengwa is a key ally who help especially with the Gukurahundi problem which he is constantly linked to," said a ZIPRA source who asked not to be identified.

He said under the proposed arrangement, Dabengwa would be the sole deputy to Mnangagwa.

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