Zimbabwe now a dictatorship – Tekere

HARARE – Former Zanu PF secretary general, Edgar tekere says he feels embarrassed that his colleagues have gone against the ideas of liberating the country through greed and that Zimbabwe was now a dictatorship.\r\n

In an interview with the Daily News Tekere said that he feels sad to be asked to explain what went wrong in the country in the past decade against the reasons why he and others went to war for the country to attain independence.

Tekere said the violence perpetrated by war veterans in the country runs against the reasons for the liberation war of this country.

He said war veterans know that when they went to war they were fighting against vices like corruption, violence and dictatorship – all of which are endemic in Zimbabwe today. He castigated war veterans who are being used by politicians and said that “my party Zanu PF” is disintegrating.

“What is happening is definitely not what we fought for. Things have gone hay wire; this is just bad. When I look at what is happening, I just cry in my heart that my party (Zanu PF) is disintegrating and there is nothing I can do,” Tekere said.

“When we were in detention we would discuss a lot of things and ideas we had for our country, planning what our country would be like when we won independence. Ghana was already independent. They were so many wrongs in many independent countries and we were saying we should avoid some of those things, but now some of the wrongs we criticised are being committed by people who fought the war.”

Tekere, the author of the book ‘A lifetime of struggle’ said he became ‘unpopular’ in Zanu PF for rebuking corruption and the one party state policy that was being driven by his former party in the late eighties.

He said he tried in vain as the secretary general of Zanu PF, to convince the party leadership that a one party state and some of the ‘wrongs’ that were being done by the former liberators were against the foundations of the liberation struggle.

“As far back as 1981, I protested in parliament and everywhere that corruption was setting in and that our country will be rotten like the countries in Asia and Western Africa and people did not like it including President Robert Mugabe,” he said.

“I was fired because I rebuked the one party state that was being advocated by others. People like late Ernest Kadungure were saying at that time that when one is voted in power why people should vote again. I protested against that, and it explains why I am unpopular with some of the people who are in power including President Robert Mugabe.”

Tekere said war veterans and people often ask him to explain why things have gone wrong in the country. He said violence must not be tolerated in any way.

“People should not be intimidated or beaten in this day and age. They should be convinced of the ideas of any party and people should not be violent. People should not be intimidated because you will end up getting deceived by the same people you think will support you,” Tekere said.

“War veterans should scratch their heads and denounce violence. They can even come back to us and we will remind them what we fought for. The song Kune Nzira Dzemasoja that taught about Mao Tse Tung’s teachings, follow the words you will see what it means.”

Asked on if he has raised the issue with former liberation fighters, Tekere said he has not been given the chance.

He said he was once chosen by the Manicaland province to be the patron of the War Veterans in the region but he could not hold the position because there was going to be a conflict with Mugabe on the course the veterans must take.

“Incidentally there is a conflict with Mugabe. I was chosen to be the patron of the war veterans in Manicaland but now Mugabe is the national patron of the war veterans’ body. There is a conflict; we no longer talk with Mugabe, even merely to come face to face with me. At times I want to go to the national heroes to bury our former colleagues but I just have to let it pass because I know that Mugabe will not like it,” Tekere said.

“Former liberation fighters come back to us asking us that Shefu things have gone bad, what should we do? I have received complaints from genuine war veterans who say that the war veterans name is being tarnished by rogue and fake war veterans. I am now afraid and embarrassed that I was a former senior member of the liberation struggle because even the people we trained in Mozambique they still come back to me to ask if what is happening is what we fought for. Definitely not!.”

War veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda however said the media has been lying about war veterans in the country. He refused to answer questions on whether he is a real war veteran saying the time will come when he will answer all the ‘lies’ that the press was writing about him.

Sibanda has been accused of forcing people to attend Zanu PF political meetings in Masvingo province, he denies the accusations. He has also been accused of forcing people to sign the Zanu PF anti-sanctions petition.

“People say a lot of lies and when the time comes I will respond to those lies. If you beat up people or force them to attend your meetings do you think they will vote for you or your party? Violence is bad; I am a kind of person who reports people who are violent to the police,” Sibanda said.

“Journalists have lied about me and war veterans. If you come and experience how we do our meetings you will find out that we are not people who behave as portrayed.”

Sibanda refused to respond to questions to clarify if he indeed participated in the liberation struggle and that he is a genuine war veteran.

“There are people who have been saying I was nine years in 1980. I don’t claim to be a war veteran but I am a war veteran. If you look at me, I am now my 50’s. When the time comes I will call a press conference for people to know the truth,” Sibanda said.

“I am not a guy who wakes up and reads the paper and work to try to correct the falsehoods that the papers report.”