Mugabe’s Charm Offensive: Blatantly Avoids War Veterans, Military Furore

 Mugabe’s Charm Offensive: Blatantly Avoids War Veterans, Military Furore
Published: 2016 August 09 09:29:57 (1799 Views)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe presided over the official celebrations of national Heroes Day but uncharacteristically steered clear of the controversy around the country’s former freedom fighters and recent comments by the country’s military hierarchy.
Instead the veteran Zanu PF leader again made disparaging remarks aimed at popular cleric and self-exiled #ThisFlag front-man Evan Mawarire.
“We praise our security forces for the calm that has been, the peace that has been and we praise them for their role in international obligations,” Mugabe said in a terse address that left out the bedlam engulfing Zanu PF and has since sucked in the country’s military.
At the weekend defence forces chief General Constantine Chiwenga warned elements in a faction of the ruling party known as G40 not to “cross the Rubicon”. Chiwenga’s comments seemed directed at Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene leading lights in the faction that is hostile to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to take over from ailing 92 year-old Mugabe.The internal fight for control of Zanu PF seems to have reached boiling point after war veterans issued a damning communique characterising Mugabe as a manipulative and autocratic leader who have failed to run the country. The former freedom fighters also declared they would for the first time not attend Heroes Day celebrations since independence 36 years ago and yesterday former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa were conspicuous by their absence.
Mugabe seemed to suggest that the contentious Statutory Instrument 164 that bans certain foodstuffs was a direct response to South Africa’s protectionist tendencies in the medical field.
Yesterday Defence Forces boss Constantine Chiwenga restated his support for Mugabe although he paradoxically said the military was apolitical. 
“…Therefore, the ZDF will never accept any unconstitutional change of Government and we stand firm and unequivocal by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and commander-in-chief of the ZDF, his Excellency Mugabe," he said.
"It follows that the ZDF, while remaining apolitical, would not tolerate or support any unconstitutional change of Government in the country, whether internally or externally induced."




- NewsDay
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