HARARE – In an ominous threat, angry war veterans have warned President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao — who is also Indigenisation minister — that they will haul him over the coals over his withering attacks on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa once the nonagenarian leaves office.
The disaffected former freedom fighters also fired a broadside at Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere whom they claim are kingpins of the Zanu PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.
Speaking to the Daily News this week, the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Douglas Mahiya, warned of a future “revenge mission” targeted at the dreadlocked Zhuwao once Mugabe leaves office.
“Jonathan Moyo, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao don’t want to talk about their future because they are benefitting from the status quo when they did not take part in the liberation struggle.
“And Zhuwao must congratulate himself for being a Cabinet minister. The other two (Moyo and Kasukuwere) may speak but he (Zhuwao) is a foreigner and must shut up. Mugabe’s last day and last term of office will also be his last.
“On the day that the president leaves, then Zhuwao must also run. After all, what has he done for the country? We are war veterans, we do not refer to Zhuwao at all besides that he is Mugabe’s nephew and he should stand warned,” the forthright Mahiya told the Daily News.
The vocal Zhuwao, who war veterans claim is Malawian, has had several run-ins with the disgruntled ex-combatants over the past two years.
But Zhuwao laughed off the threats to banish him from Zimbabwe, going on to describe the vets as cowards.
“I cannot comment on people who want to portray courage and bravery in the media but are scared to confront me. They talk through newspapers. Mbwende dzevanhu (cowards),” he told the Daily News in a curt response.
The fed up war veterans have publicly come out to back Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe — who turns a mature 93 later this month — as Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and succession wars get ever uglier.
They have also warned that blood may even flow in the country if Mnangagwa does not succeed the long-ruling nonagenarian who has studiously refused to name his Zanu PF successor, arguing that the party should rather follow what he sees as a more democratic process to manage his succession — doing so through a congress.
In the run-up to Zanu PF’s annual conference that was held in Masvingo in December last year, Zhuwao was also threatened with death after a self-claimed Mnangagwa loyalist, Frank Onismo Ziyambi, warned him via Facebook that he risked being killed for his withering attack on the Midlands godfather.
Zhuwao had at that time publicly attacked Mnangagwa and his Team Lacoste faction, including war veterans — describing the VP as “unelectable” and not worth supporting because of the tendency of his “excitable” backers to bully and threaten people.
Then, Mahiya responded saying that Zhuwao had “no moral ground” to comment on their activities as he was “not yet born” when they waged the war of liberation in the 1970s.
“Zhuwao doesn’t know anything … when we went to war he was not yet born. He is trying to personalise or making it (leadership of Zanu PF and the country) a family thing because you will never find justification when this issue comes from the nephew of the president.
“They want to separate us from the people, but we will remain with the people. We expect such a thing from Zhuwao considering his age. If it was not the determination of war veterans, he would never have had his dreadlocks and he would never have been a minister.
“We don’t see him occupying that position as justifiable. It’s part of what we think is nepotism. He doesn’t know about the revolution, he only knows this from books. He must shut up. People must not call people like Zhuwao comrades. It’s an abuse of the name,” Mahiya thundered.
In their latest attacks on the G40, the war veterans also ratcheted up their attacks on Moyo and Kasukuwere whom they described as cowards.
“G40, where are they coming from? They call us drunkards, that is not what we expect from a political commissar (Kasukuwere) but it is now clear that he is the one who is drunk. He sees everybody as drunk.
“Does he mean that we do not think and that his corrupt group that has caused so much suffering in the party and country is the only one that thinks?” the agitated Mahiya asked.
“Moyo, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao do not know anything about this country. Tovaisa pasi paana mujibha (we place them below the level of war collaborators). Their motive is to ensure that they will be at the helm after Mugabe.
“It is shocking that they do not want a member of their own party as a leader. Where is the integrity of the party going to come from?
“When I am speaking, I am speaking for the war veterans. Come on Kasukuwere, you don’t understand the organogram of a party in which you claim to be the commissar,” Mahiya added, further claiming that Mnangagwa had been chosen to succeed Mugabe in 1977 when he was elected special assistant to the nonagenarian.
“The problem is that the party has been joined by people who started at the top in the politburo and were never in the structures.
“Who will succeed Mugabe will be determined not by contemporary events, but by historical facts and Jonso (Moyo) and his friends cannot turn back the hands of time,” Mahiya said.
The disgruntled former freedom fighters, have also recently been ratcheting up their loud calls for Mugabe to retire now and pave the way for his long-time aide to take over the reins at both party and government levels.
They have also tried in vain to pressure Mugabe into sacking Kasukuwere and Moyo.
Since their fallout with Mugabe first burst out into the open in July last year, after they released a damning communiqué in which they savaged the Zanu PF leader before serving him with divorce papers, the ex-combatants have not missed an opportunity to attack Mugabe.
Their stunning fallout brought to an end a relationship that dates back to the days of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
They have also claimed that Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding rather contemptuously that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he ever contemplated contesting the 2018 presidential poll.
Mugabe responded by warning the war veterans that they would be dealt with severely, including through the use of extra-judicial suppression methods that his former liberation movement incorporated during the country’s independence war — such as incarcerating dissenters in inhuman dungeons where they were forced to live like caged rats.
Immediately after this threat, police swooped on some of the ZNLWVA executive members who were arraigned before the courts, which eventually set them free.