HARARE – Veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation are throwing their weight behind former Vice President Joice Mujuru as she plots her assault on President Robert Mugabe’s and the bitterly-divided post-congress Zanu PF’s vice grip on power ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

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By Fungi Kwaramba

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At the same time, and in what observers say will work to Mujuru’s and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s favour, the  rumpus between Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s supporters and Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, who are known as the Generation 40 (G40), is turning uglier by the day.

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Former Zanla political commissar for Tete, George Dzirawa Shumba — whose wartime name was Farai Tafirenyika — told the Daily News yesterday that “the few remaining genuine war veterans” would back Mujuru as she takes on the post-congress Zanu PF as her liberation track record was “free of blemishes”.

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“We are fully behind her. We have been ignored for a long time and she is one of our own. She will not leave us and there is nothing that will stop her from ruling this country,” Shumba said.

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Asked if Mujuru would be able to withstand Zanu PF’s well-documented tendency to resort to violence  and intimidation when its hold on power was threatened, he said war veterans were “ready to face anything”.

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“We cannot run away from victimisation. Unfortunately, that is the reality of Zimbabwe, unless if we go to another universe. But this is our country and we will defend it,” Shumba said resolutely — adding that plans were afoot to form “a new association for genuine war veterans”.

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“We are in the process of forming our own organisation and we have the support of most of the real comrades. I retired as a major, the maximum rank these people could give me,” Shumba said.

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Former Zanla High Command member, Benard Manyadza — whose wartime nom de guerre was Parker Chipoyera, said it was only Mujuru who could “stop war deserters from hijacking the country”.

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“People knew that she was going to start something, and so far it is a well-managed process and she needs the buy-in from all of society, from intellectuals to peasants. Everyone is talking about that. People cannot wait for the party to be launched,” Manyadza said.

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“Whatever the name they will come up with, we will be happy with the party. War veterans are divided, but the majority say she understands our aspirations even though we are now few. Now they are talking about one centre of power which is dictatorship similar to that of Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

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“It is counter revolutionaries who were attacking us when we were in the bush who are now trying to destroy Zanu PF, so that it can be led by reactionary forces. As real comrades, we are saying to our colleagues let’s defend the country because counter revolutionaries have taken over,” Manyadza added.

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He blasted Zanu PF mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies) whom he accused of having enlisted the services of Mugabe’s controversial wife, Grace — whom he described as “gullible” — in their quest to remove genuine war veterans from power.

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“As a result, the First Family is now like a monarchy. This movement (People First), if it works with the opposition can stop this dictatorship, so that the liberation struggle gets to its logical conclusion. There is serious patronage politics and personality cults in Zimbabwe when what we need is democracy, where people are free,” Manyadza said.

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He also claimed that “the only true surviving member of the crocodile gang told me that they are behind Mai Mujuru”.

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And as these war veterans were voicing their support for Mujuru, sources told the Daily News that her dramatic re-entry into national politics had also allegedly divided the country’s security sector in the middle, with most of their loyalties now split between “self preservation and principle”.

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Apparently, it was claimed further, many high ranking officials in the security sector were loyal to her because they owed their current positions to her late husband General Solomon Mujuru, whose charred remains  were found after a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farm in 2011.

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“You should remember that during the war Rex Nhongo (Solomon Mujuru) was the commander of all these army generals. After the war he was a very influential person and through him many were promoted. Although they have their own interests to look after, but no doubt they have a soft spot for their commander’s widow,” one of the sources claimed.

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“Most of the people who want to succeed president Mugabe have questionable war credentials, unlike Mujuru who is one of us. We can identify with her and she with us. This is the time for comrades and not nationalists or pretenders to take over,” the source added.

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Meanwhile, the Daily News learnt yesterday that the ugly rumpus between Mnangagwa and Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, who are known as the Generation 40 (G40), is turning uglier by the day.

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Apparently, the G40 — who stand accused of wanting to depose the post-congress Zanu PF leadership from power, including Mugabe and Mnangagwa, using the nonagenarian’s wife Grace — had hatched a plot to get the gaffe-prone First Lady, who returned home on Sunday from the Far East where she had gone for medical attention, to savage Mnangagwa.

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The G40’s plan was also said to be to get Grace to denounce and order the arrest of the organisers of a pending mass demonstration against embattled party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, which would lead to the suspension and expulsion of the war veterans and youth leaders involved from Zanu PF.

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“The alleged demonstration plot besides being criminalised was also meant to ignite another wave of votes of no confidence in the provinces on some targets, while others would be referred to disciplinary committees for expulsion and suspensions with the National Disciplinary Committee chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, with Kasukuwere and Sandie Moyo or Grace Mugabe being members, set to endorse and rubber stamp the provincial decisions which would be against the targeted members,” a source said.

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The Daily News revealed last week that the G40 had also been planning to organise a counter pro-Kasukuwere demonstration on the same day that the anti-minister of Local Government demonstration is to take place. – Daily News

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