War veterans still have a role to play

War veterans still have a role to play
Published: 16 August 2016 (571 Views)
The country owes its gratitude to men and women, alive and departed who fought the colonial yoke and unshackled the indigenous people of the oppression that demeaned them to second-class citizens in their motherland. The role they played in the liberation of the country should not be underestimated nor should it be forgotten and the Heroes' Day, the country celebrated a few weeks ago serve as a time for reflection for that invaluable sacrifice that ushered in a new Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, war veterans still have a role to play in the future of the country and now is not the time to fall apart.

I hope our war veterans also used the Heroes celebrations to reflect on the injudicious route that some of them have taken which has armed the country's detractors with ammunition to destroy our hard won independence. My uneasiness is borne out of recent media reports gleaned from the newspapers that war veterans in Norton have resolved to support the candidature of Temba Mliswa in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election for the Norton constituency.

War veterans' Norton district chairperson, Joseph Chinyangari is quoted saying "By expelling our leadership, Zanu PF has made it clear that they have nothing to do with us and likewise, we have nothing to do with them from henceforth … We unanimously agreed to back Mliswa against any Zanu PF candidate," Chinyangani said.

Alas, how have our liberation heroes reached such levels of malevolence? Are they not seeing there is something wrong with this picture? Have all our war veterans have the same mind-set? I would like to honestly believe these are only sentiments shared by a few and despised by many. I cling to that hope because the Matabeleland North provincial war veterans association recently released a statement condemning the Mutsvangwa-led executive which has since been expelled from ZANU PF.

Part of the statement reads "The provincial chairman of war veterans, Matabeleland North Cde S K Mguni on behalf of all the war veterans in the province, would like to inform the party that we are behind His Excellency President RG Mugabe, the First Secretary of Zanu-PF and President of Zimbabwe . . . who is also patron of the war veterans".

"As war veterans of Matabeleland North, we are wholly behind our party leadership. In addition were not part of the communique and the meeting which was held in Harare on July 21. We dissociate ourselves from the communique. Cde Mugabe is our patron and our sole candidate for the 2018 presidential elections".

It's time for all war veterans who are opposed to this rebellion come out in the open and be counted. Since the centre of the association is no longer holding, is it not time for all provincial war veterans associations executives to follow suit as done by the Matabeleland North executive and say No to this folly.  As much as the solidarity gathering at ZANU PF headquarters by war veterans in the aftermath of the communique showed the world that war veterans were still with their patron, the rogue elements in the association are not moving an inch and this state of affairs cannot continue unabated. If all parts of the association say No to this misguided national executive something will have to give. The association needs to start re-uniting and commence the healing process and that can only be achieved if they don't allow the fallout between them and the party that nurtured them, ZANU PF to widen beyond repair.  

Mutsvangwa and his minions cannot purport to be representing all war veterans as shown by the release of this statement. Hence, the matter can only be resolved if Mutsvangwa and his crew heed President Mugabes' call for the association to choose new leadership that share their vision, a vision which Mutsvangwa and his men no-longer share with the rest of the former freedom fighters.  

War veterans will be shooting themselves in the foot if they support known individuals who have lost their way like Mliswa as a means to get back at ZANU PF. Spite does not help anyone and only serve to deepen the acrimony and widen the rift within the association itself and the ZANU PF party, consequences both parties would not want to contemplate. The country need the association members to be more united now than ever, to take our country forward. We have an economy to revive, employment to create, industries to resuscitate and all these things we can only be achieved if the country is united and fighting in the same corner.

ZANU PF remains the home of war veterans and alleged sentiments that the party has ditched them for youths is unfounded and is only being peddled by detractors who want nothing more than to sever the blood ties that bind ZANU PF and Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA).  The fact that their patron President Robert Mugabe gave them audience a few months ago speak volumes of the integral part war veterans have in the ZANU PF matrix and the country at large.   

Is it not time for war veterans to say No to the divisive leadership of the Mutsvangwa-led executive. How long will war veterans continue to watch the retrogression brought by these rogue elements? War veterans still have a part to play in the future of the country and now is not the time to come undone at the seams, as the country's enemies are already congratulating  themselves for a job well-done.

War veterans should take their power back and lead the revolution forward for the nation to finally complement its political freedom with economic emancipation.
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Tapiwa Maware <tmaware28@gmail.com

- Tapiwa Maware

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