Africa

Zimbabwe: War vets calls for political convergence

By Sally Nyakanyanga 16 November 2017

Amid military control over Zimbabwe, the liberation war veterans joined the fray on Wednesday in support of the position taken by the army. By SALLY NYAKANYANGA.

The Zimbabwean army has President Robert Mugabe under house arrest, is silencing those it claims are criminal elements in the ruling Zanu-PF party, and has taken control of national broadcaster the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Police Support Unit.

Speaking at a press conference, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association Secretary General Victor Matemadanda on Wednesday not only called for the reversal of the dismissed or expelled members from the ruling party but unity among all political parties for the development of the country.

In the constitution there is a section that empowers the defence forces to take appropriate action to defend national security, sovereignty and human life. Zimbabwe was sliding into a state of chaos and for that reason war vet do stand with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” Matemadanda said.

Matemadanda believes the army has managed to restore order and sanity, which he said was long overdue, with no reason to regard opposition as their enemies.

We are trying to bring everything to normal. All the political parties should embrace this, they should support this move because we need a situation after this where there is inclusivity because no one person or political parties can solve our problems, so we want political convergence. We want people who are prepared to work together,” Matemadanda said.

However, political analyst Brian Kagoro highlighted that in order for this to become a reality, there is need for a framework for accountability. “It’s not unity for the sake of it but uniting on shared values, mutual accountability and mutual respect. The biggest difficulty is whether there is any shared values in all this,” Kagoro told Daily Maverick.

Kagoro suggested that all parties must have equal power to enforce agreements and honour their responsibilities for this to be possible. “Previously in the country the mutual accountability framework could not hold the military accountable given the role they played in 2008 to stop the smooth transfer of power to the Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai,” said Kagoro.

As events that are expected to usher in a new dispensation in Zimbabwe unfold, with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) due to hold a meeting on Zimbabwe in Botswana on Thursday, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is said to have jetted back into Zimbabwe from South Africa. The MDC is holding a meeting in South Africa on Thursday, with the world watching to see whether the end is nigh for Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

Of interest are the demands which Matemadanda spelt out on behalf of the war veterans that include establishing a Commission of Inquiry on Mugabe during his days as Zanu-PF leader, and why he worked with what the war vets called anti-revolutionary elements and chose to ignore the people who stood by him.

Though very little is known about how this whole game will end or which direction it will take, sources are saying Mugabe is against the takeover of the army as it’s an unconstitutional. Zimbabweans remain anxious. DM

Photo: Zimbabwe War Veterans Association secretary general Victor Matemadanda addressing a press conference on behalf of other war veterans in Harare, 15 November 2017. Photo: Aaron Ufumeli/(EPA).

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