MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa’s political approaches, particularly his tendency to crush dissent and dangle freebies to buy loyalty, is turning him into a small version of former president Mr Robert Mugabe, a Zanu-PF Politburo member has said.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda also said promises by the MDC Alliance to improve the welfare of Second Chimurenga fighters in exchange for political support sought to portray them as mercenaries.
“It is a misguided notion for Chamisa to think that like Mugabe he will exploit the veterans of the liberation struggle by promising to improve their welfare in such a way they will be considered to be mercenaries,” said Cde Matemadanda, who is Secretary for War Veterans in Zanu-PF’s Politburo.
“War veterans — Zanla and Zipra — are a revolutionary force who sacrificed their lives not for money or any other thing other than independence and freedom of Zimbabwe.
“They are not a mercenary force, because this same notion also comes from our former leader Robert Mugabe, who had thought that veterans of the liberation struggle could be a mercenary force that can be used and dumped and be picked by whoever wants.
“Chamisa is slowly turning himself into little Mugabe; they have a lot of things in common. His dictatorial tendencies of using violence and use of undemocratic means to expel party members who oppose him resemble Robert Mugabe.”
After the death of MDC-T’s founding leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14 this year, party youths backing Mr Chamisa tried to burn their preferred politician’s rival — Dr Thokozani Khupe — alive on February 19 in Buhera.
War veterans contend Mr Chamisa wants to use them in the same way he is using party youths to allegedly brutalise opponents.
“What should be understood from the onset is that war veterans went to war not to be someone’s soldiers, but it was from the fact that they were oppressed, which caused them to go to the liberation struggle, purely to liberate Zimbabwe.
“Everything else would then come after having liberated Zimbabwe, and this we achieved in 1980,” added Cde Matemadanda.
It was futile, he said, for anyone to think that the war veterans could be used to advance an individual’s personal cause.
“We did not fight the bourgeoisie type of rule in order to establish another imperialistic administration, so ideologically there is no war veteran in his or her right sense who can go to bed with MDC because the ideologies are a world apart.
“. . . We are not a mercenary force, we have not and we will never have a political link with MDC because what we fought for and the ideology we have and the conviction that caused us to go to war can never mix with imperialism.
“So, we are people living in different hemispheres.
‘‘There is nothing that links us up with MDC, unless we choose to be mercenaries, which I doubt there are war veterans with that mercenary mentality.”
Cde Matemadanda said if Mr Chamisa wanted to work with war veterans, he should join the ruling party.