No third term for ED Mnangagwa: Tensions rise in Zanu PF as war veterans breathe fire


War vets warn against Mnangagwa third term

CRACKS have started to emerge in the ruling Zanu PF party over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged manoeuvre to stay in office beyond the allowed two terms, with war veterans warning that they will oppose “dynastic rule.”

The strong words used by a faction of the former liberation war that has virtually taken control of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) – an affiliate of Zanu PF – are the first indication of internal opposition to those pushing for Mnangagwa to hang on to power.

Ex-combatants were instrumental in Mnangagwa’s rise to power through a military sponsored coup.

Mnangagwa, who took over from the former iron-fisted Zanu PF party leader, Robert Mugabe in 2017, is yet to come out publicly on his official position on the matter.

He has, however, previously declared he would still be at the helm of the country’s affairs in the year 2030.

Zanu PF’s Masvingo province exposed behind the scenes manoeuvres for a third term bid during the ruling party’s Youth Day celebrations in February this year through a slogan.

The slogan “2030 VaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo (Mnangagwa will still be in power in 2030)” is now being used at Zanu PF events, much to the chagrin of his opponents

On Friday, Bulawayo police blocked the ZNLWVA from holding a meeting amid suspicions that the conveners were seen as party spoilers.

The meeting was organised by the ZNLWVA led by Andrease Mathibela.

Sources said Mathibela’s leadership is being viewed within Zanu PF circles as a resistance movement to the broader political plans by Mnangagwa and his faction.

Sources said there is a push to have Mathibela and his team removed to make life easier for Mnangagwa’s loyalists in the third term push.

After the ZNLWVA meeting was banned, Mathibela held a press conference in Bulawayo where he warned that the former liberation war fighters would block moves to have Mnangagwa in office beyond the end of his second term.

He also blasted the police for disrupting their planned meeting.

In a veiled attack on those behind Mnangagwa’s third term push, Mathibela said: “On March 16 and 17, 2013, Zimbabweans en masse voted for a new constitution following the referendum which had a turnout of 95.5% of the electorate.

“Unanimous in this constitutional resolve was the irreversibility of the land reform programme and the finality of the presidential term limit to two five year terms.

“…Yet today, we have seen the unceremonious abandonment of the indigenisation laws, which sought to reverse years of colonial injustice and domination by protecting Zimbabwean nationals from future subtle re-colonisation practices and dispossession of our rightful heritage by new colonial masters.”

He added: “Equally, we have witnessed gross mischief by a few sloganeering miscreants, who seek to test the waters by conditioning the population to accept the setting aside of our sacred constitutional provisions, thereby attempting to usher in an open ended dynastic rule for Zimbabwe.

“Let them be warned.”

Mathibela insinuated that Mnangagwa was surrounded by ‘criminals.’

“In 2017, the special operation (carried out by the military) sought to remove criminals from around the presidency and bring sanity to the top leadership of the country,” he said.

“The people of Zimbabwe and the war veterans led the charge. Perhaps we did not carry out the task to the letter.

“Today, it is every criminal’s dream to be called honourable and the criminals are becoming more emboldened.”

Yesterday, Mathibela told The Standard that police blocked their meeting using a lame excuse.

“We were given the nod for the meeting to go ahead only for the police to make a u-turn on Thursday to inform us that the meeting should be called off,” he said.

“When we enquired further, we were advised by one Nsingo from Southampton House, the Bulawayo police administration centre, that police had received threatening calls to the effect that the intended meeting must not go ahead.

“He even said that the callers had said should the meeting go ahead, there would be violence.

“This is unacceptable and it shows how some people are abusing the police to further their political agendas.”

Mathias Mbambo, the spokesperson Mathibela’s ZNLWVA group, also expressed similar sentiments.

“I think the so-called threats are coming from them (Zanu PF) and those that hijacked the association and took it to the ruling party,” Mbambo said.

“They hijacked the association so that they can abuse it.

“We are the genuine war vets association that is championing the cause of all ex-freedom fighters irrespective of political affiliation, including those in Zanu PF that are coming to disrupt our meetings.”

Sources told The Standard that police called off the meeting at the behest of political heavyweights, who feared the event was meant to drum up support for the former liberation war fighters’ bid to block Mnangagwa’s third term bid.

“The police were told this was not a welfare meeting for war veterans, but a meeting wherein the war veterans’ leadership wanted to mobilise the war vets and gear them towards resisting Mnangagwa’s third term effort,” the source said.

“This is primarily why the meeting was banned by the police.”

This publication is reliably informed that there is a serious tussle for power within the ex-liberation war veterans’ movement.

Sources said there were efforts by some in Zanu PF to parachute a malleable leadership into the association.

Mnangagwa last year blocked the ZNLWVA from holding its elective congress as the former fighters agitated for the removal of Chris Mutsvangwa as chairman.

War veterans played a key role in the removal of Mugabe from o ce through a military coup. The Standard.

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