Masvingo – The war veterans who have been up in arms with their patron President Robert Mugabe over the bitter succession issue in Zanu PF have said the revolutionary party is doomed without them as the fight for allegiances rages on with covert operations under way to supplant the veterans' top brass and replace it with 'rubber stamps'.
War veterans, fronted by the likes of Christopher Mutsvangwa, Douglas Mahiya and Victor Matemadanda, have been pushing for embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed the nonagenarian.
However their fortunes have been waning of late following the brutal sacking of Mutsvangwa, Mahiya and Matemadanda from Zanu PF with the party carrying out meetings with the lower structures of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) so as to influence them to turn against the Mutsvangwa- led executive.
Mahiya rubbished the claims that the union will have elections soon to replace him, Mutsvangwa, Matemadanda and the rest of the national executive and warned Mugabe that Zanu PF he is nothing without the support of the war vets.
"There is a new initiative being pushed by G40 which is aimed at dividing war veterans. They want to apply divisive tactics so that the lower structures turn against their leaders. We are aware of those machinations. There is mutual dependence between Zanu PF and war veterans. Zanu PF without war veterans is nothing, it is that simple. Mathematically, Zanu PF minus war veterans equals zero," said Mahiya.
"Zanu PF must work with the leadership of the war veterans not with those being led. They carry out meetings behind the backs of the leadership. We need to be appreciated and be respected but as it stands we are playing the underdog," he added.
Last week Saturday, a group of war veterans held a clandestine meeting at the open space at Gutu turn off near Roy apparently without the knowledge of the provincial leadership.
Mahiya said G40 members are on a mission to see to it that war veterans' legacy is destroyed and completely erased from the history of the country.
"They want to erase our contributions from the books of history. They are mobilising some war veterans to turn against the executive chaired by Mutsvangwa because it is vocal in safeguarding and defending the gains of the revolution. We cannot let anyone grab power without proper credentials. This is what G40 wants and knowing that we will stop them, they want to replace us with people they can easily manipulate," Mahiya said.
Asked if war veterans are not the ones who need Mugabe more than Mugabe needs them and whether they will not be reduced to nonentities if they detach from Zanu PF, Mahiya diplomatically say time will tell who is really a nonentity.
"We are the ones who nurtured the revolution to be where it is today. So to say we will be reduced to nonentities without Mugabe, it boggles the mind. Mugabe needs us as much as war vets need him. For him to enjoy the power he has today, it is because of us. He should not let the born frees step on us willy-nilly; anyway time will tell who really is a nonentity," said Mahiya.
On the unsanctioned Gutu turn-off war veterans meeting, Masvingo provincial war veterans' chairperson, Tendeukai Chinooneka said he stumbled upon the meeting on his way to supervise Zanu PF Bikita West constituency primaries but was unaware of the agenda.
"I passed by the area and saw there was a meeting but I had no knowledge of who organised it and the agenda. I do not even know who was there. The provincial leadership was not notified otherwise we would not have had a meeting in such an open place. It shows something was being planned but for now we do not know.
"Whatever is going on, it will come to light and we will see who has the last laugh. Maybe it was not a war veterans meeting because if it was, we would have been notified and attended," said Chinooneka.news