President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday counselled his predecessor, saying the country has already moved on since his resignation.
This comes after former president Robert Mugabe, in a recent interview with the media at his Borrowdale house, heavily criticised Mnangagwa as an illegitimate leader, who could not have been in power without the assistance of the army.
Mugabe said his removal was through a coup d’état, even though both the regional and international community had said the event did not amount to a coup.
Yesterday, Mnangagwa issued a statement to discredit Mugabe, stating he is seized with election preparation and that the country has since moved on.
“President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa has noted recent remarks made to the media by former president Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe. On 21 November, 2017, former president Mugabe tendered his resignation in terms of Section 96, sub-section 1, of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He is entitled to express himself freely, as is the case for any private citizen.
“The Zimbabwe government continues to honour all its obligations towards the former president’s welfare and benefits, as provided for under the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The nation has moved on. Our focus, at this time, remain on preparing for free, fair and credible elections in 2018. This is a key step in the immense task at hand, which is to lift our people from the effects of years of severe economic regression and international isolation,” reads part of the statement.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) also came out guns blazing, dismissing Mugabe’s averments as those being made by someone trying to seek relevance.
ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, said the High Court has since ruled that Mugabe’s removal was legal, challenging the former Zanu PF leader to appeal the ruling.
“If Mugabe has any other legal channels he can follow those. As far as we are concerned, the High Court said it was legal,” said Matemadanda.
He said Mugabe’s actions showed he continues to look down upon the people of Zimbabwe.
Matemadanda was among ZNLWVA executive members who were expelled from Zanu PF for stating that Mugabe had overstayed in power and was supposed to leave.
“He (Mugabe) is just trying to find relevance. By demanding to meet Mnangagwa, he is trying to appear as the authority apparent, as if he is the one who installs kings in Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa is the legitimate president of Zimbabwe and Mugabe must respect the will of the people,” Matemadanda said.
He further said Mnangagwa must refuse to meet with Mugabe, whom he accused of making unnecessary noise, adding that Mugabe risked losing the little respect that has been left of him, with high chances that there might be a withdrawal of the statesmanship honour conferred on him.
Mnangagwa’s allies Larry Mavima and Energy Mutodi also came to his defence yesterday, saying Mugabe was behaving as though he alone has the right to rule Zimbabwe.
Deputy Finance minister Terrence Mukupe said: “He needs to rest. He must write books telling us how he made his manoeuvres while president. I respect elders, but vaMugabe vakura, he is old.”
Meanwhile, Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa has reacted angrily to claims by Mugabe that Zapu and Zipra were also to blame for the Gukurahundi massacres.
Dabengwa, who was the Zipra intelligence supremo during the liberation struggle, said the nonagenarian was trying by all means to justify himself on the genocide that claimed over 20 000 lives.
“We remind Mugabe that the arms caches and dissident allegations against Zipra were a deliberate and covet operation by the State secret service under then State Security minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who himself remarked that they had to create a story and reason to justify the atrocities that followed the discovery,” he said.
“Today, he (Mugabe) conveniently forgets his usual song, in a classic example of truth always coming out no matter how one suppresses it. He deliberately forgets that he also created dissidents, with collaboration from South Africa’s Apartheid government, in operations that were led by Mnangagwa,” explained Dabengwa.
“All this was to create flimsy accusations and charges against Zapu and Zipra so as to justify their heinous crime against humanity in Matabeleland which was politically driven.”
In the interview, Mugabe said Zapu and Zipra are also to blame for the atrocities, and disputed that 20 000 people were killed.
“I doubt the number, but well it would be because you get some people with guns behaving recklessly,” he said.
Mugabe also blamed Mnangagwa and former intelligence director –internal Dan Stannard for leading the massacres while also admitting that they were getting instructions from him.
Dabengwa said the major aim of the operation was to institute a one-party state in Zimbabwe, with his party becoming the obvious target.
“His denial of the 20 000 deaths shows he really is mindful and aware of the magnitude of his madness,” he said.
“ Mugabe is fully aware that these 20 000 are direct deaths at the hands of the Fifth Brigade, the number does not include curfew-induced deaths of children, the elderly and the sick from malnutrition, hunger and disease and were never accounted for.
“He fully knows that Gukurahundi deaths run into hundreds of thousands, hence his refusal to acknowledge the mere 20 000 that was given by the CCJP, whose incomprehensive survey or investigations only covered Matobo and Tsholotsho districts.”
Dabengwa also said: “Mnangagwa should man up and take responsibility for his actions.”