War Vets Shame Mugabe, Boycott Heroes' And Defence Forces Days

War Vets Shame Mugabe, Boycott Heroes' And Defence Forces Days
Published: 2016 August 09 14:35:37 (2366 Views)


LEADERS of Zimbabwean war veterans have boycotted both the Heroes’ and Defence Forces Days for the first time since independence, a sign of the growing rift between former fighters and Africa's oldest leader Robert Mugabe.

The veterans who revoked their loyalty from Zanu PF have called on their former boss Mugabe to step down.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) last month denounced Mugabe, 92, as a divisive ruler, in a jolting rebuke underlining mounting anger over economic woes.

The ZNLWVA executive was absent from National Heroes Day celebrations in the capital to honour living and dead fighters of the 1970s liberation war against white minority rule yesterday. They were also absent today to honour the country’s defence forces.  This is the first time leaders of the group have failed to attend the celebrations since ZNLWVA was formed in 1990.

The group has been Mugabe’s key election campaign group since 2000, when the first major opposition to the president emerged with the formation in 1999 of the main opposition party Movement For Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said his group had boycotted Monday’s event because it had lost its meaning.

“We said as an executive we have no reason to attend because it [National Heroes Day] is not intended to achieve the true goal to honour the war veterans,” Matemadanda told Reuters.

“We said because we are being persecuted continuously, there is no reason why we should go there. In fact if you go there, you will never know what they will think, maybe they will think of arresting us or other comrades who have not been arrested.”

Mugabe's government has arrested and charged war veterans' leaders in a crackdown against his formed allies. In his 50-minute speech, Mugabe did not mention the war veterans, but instead accused activist pastor Evan Mawarire of calling for violent anti-government protests.

“If protests are allowed, let them be peaceful, not to be like the ones advocated by Mawarire,” Mugabe said in his unusually short speech.

Mawarire through his #ThisFlag movement is seen as the spark behind the wave of mass protests against Mugabe and his administration. Conspicuously, Mugabe today gave another short speech at the Defence Forces Day celebrations in Harare without mentioning anything about his furore with the military whom he praised and his ex-buddies the war-veterans.





- ZimNet
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