ZNLWVA Secretary General Victor Matemadanda (left) briefs Mutsvangwa soon after arrival at a War Vets' meeting in Masvingo on Saturday
MASVINGO - The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA) has given President Robert Mugabe a 'final warning' saying the nonagenarian leader's failure to respond to their pleas would see the freedom fighters dumping Zanu PF to support any political party of their choice in the next election.
Speaking at the emotionally-charged meeting at Panyanda Lodge last weekend, war veterans said they regretted supporting Zanu PF over the past years.
"We were used to beat anyone who did not like Zanu PF. We did all the dirty work for the party only to be dumped today because there are some G40 members in the party. Let us refuse to be used like condoms….the time to sober up and be frank to each other is now," said a female war veteran.
Although they initially agreed that they would not mention names, as tempers heated, the war veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa said he was extending an olive branch to President Mugabe whom he accused of favouritism.
"You know our patron President Mugabe is not fair. It is at this juncture that we appeal to him to be fair and come to us before we reach a point of no return. You all know that I was fired from Zanu PF without any disciplinary hearing…they did not want to hear my side.
"But look at how people like Jonathan Moyo and Kasukuwere are stealing from public institutions and yet the President continues to protect them …it's no fair, we don't want that kind of favouritism especially coming from someone who is our patron," said Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa said he was shocked to realise that Prof Jonathan Moyo was actually bragging that he was a 'thief'.
"This country has gone to the dogs…we did not go to war to fight for this rubbish. How can Jonathan claim that he steals so that he can give the loot to the poor? No. He is not Robin Hood as he claims, the only people who sacrificed for Zimbabweans to be emancipated are war veterans not war deserters like Moyo who ran away from the liberation struggle," added Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa said the war veterans were no longer going to use the 'pasi naTsvangirai' slogan because the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) helped in the crafting of a national constitution that respects war veterans.
"We must not continue saying pasi na Tsvangirai. What are we going to tell them when they ask us why we continue saying down with them? For your own information, the MDC helped in the crafting of this beautiful constitution which respect us. Remember the Lancaster Constitution did not recognise war veterans," added Mutsvangwa amid ululations from the crowd.
Turning to the recent Norton by-elections where Zanu PF lost to independent candidate Temba Mliswa, Mutsvangwa said war veterans were happy with the election outcome.
"The people have spoken in Norton. We are going to support any candidate who is liked by the people regardless of his/her political party affiliation," said Mutsvangwa.
The war veterans' spokesperson Douglas Mahiya led the session in amending the constitution.
The new amendments will see the position of the patron being replaced by that of the non-executive president.
"President Mugabe's position of being our patron is no longer there. Our partners at international level will not accept us with Mugabe as our patron so we have removed that position," said Mahiya. news