The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association yesterday slammed the United States government for extending its sanctions regime on the country, with the aim of causing suffering among ordinary citizens.
Addressing a press conference, ZNLWVA secretary general Cde Victor Matemadanda also took a swipe at MDC-Alliance principals Messrs Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti for urging the West to continue with their sanctions policy on Zimbabwe.
He called for the renaming of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport saying the former president was no longer fit to have the airport named after him. The war veterans are today expected to hand in the petition to Government over the matter.
The US recently extended its sanctions on Zimbabwe following the signing of an amended version of the Zimbabwe Democracy Recovery Act (Zidera).
“Zimbabwe, in the new dispensation, has deliberately taken a stance to promote international re-engagement with all nations,” said Cde Matemadanda.
“However, America, because of its hegemonic tendencies, has slapped us in the face through the extension of sanctions under Zidera. While pretending to be a leader in democracy and dialogue, America, in reality wants to squeeze blood out of poor nations of the world.”
Cde Matemadanda said the US had no moral ground to lecture the world on democracy and human rights as it was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people through sponsoring wars.
“While pretending to be a leader in democracy and dialogue, America, in reality wants to squeeze blood out of the poor nations of the world,” he said. “They look blindly at mass murders in Palestine and the whole of the Middle East. They do not care about life, they only care about their international hegemony.”
Cde Matemadanda said while they respected the US, they condemned its big brother mentality when dealing with other nations.
“We respect America, but we don’t want the big brother mentality to maintain international hegemony, we don’t want that,” Cde Matemadanda said.
“If America is going to behave like this, we are going to call on our Government to say let us forget any effort to engage America. We want to engage people who respect us, people who take us as human beings. We are no longer slaves of America.”
Cde Matemadanda said they were prepared to die in defence of the country’s independence.
“We did not get this independence on a silver platter,” he said. “We got it through the barrel of the gun and we have not lost our guns, we have our armouries. We can defend our revolution any time.”
Cde Matemadanda condemned the MDC-Alliance leaders and their lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu.
“As war veterans, we also want to condemn in no uncertain terms traitors Chamisa, Thabani Mpofu and Biti, who have gone to the West to invite the extension of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe,” he said.
“While we welcome the democratic ideas of the opposition political parties, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the political approach of the three who have chosen to perpetuate untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe by calling on America to extend Zidera and continue the sanctions that have been at the root of the economic stagnation Zimbabwe has faced over the past 20 years.”
Cde Matemadanda said Zimbabwe was willing to engage with other countries on an equal basis.
“Zimbabwe may not want to worry about re-engaging America, but all the other countries that are showing willingness to work with us based on mutual respect,” he said. “We are indeed open for business, but not the business of being abused.”
On renaming the airport, Cde Matemadanda said Mr Mugabe was a sell-out who did not deserve to be honoured. Formerly called Harare International Airport, the facility was renamed after the former president following recommendations by the then Zanu-PF Youth League led by Kudzai Chipanga.
“We are going to demand the removal of Robert Mugabe’s name from the international airport in Harare,” he said.
“Tomorrow we are going to Harare international airport to demand the removal of Mugabe’s dirty name. Mugabe has failed. We cannot have the face of Zimbabwe to the world given the name of a last-minute traitor. We don’t want that.
“We will be handing over our petition so that Mugabe’s name is removed at the airport with immediate effect. He does not deserve such an honour as he has taken a betrayal stance. He has strayed and chose an unholy matrimony with MDC. Tomorrow we are going to Harare International Airport not Robert Mugabe to demand the removal of that name because Mugabe is a last-minute traitor. We want names of our heroes, not sellouts. The name Robert Gabriel Mugabe will be remembered for a leader who gave up his flock to raveners.”
Earlier, Cde Matemadanda had hit out at MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa for working with Mr Mugabe.
“While we do not want to interfere with the internal affairs and management of the MDC, we believe that it is up to the real MDC people to stand up and reclaim their party from Chamisa who is now abusing it and working with failed politicians like Robert and Grace Mugabe, Job Sikhala, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube and many others who either dumped or were dumped by the MDC when Tsvangirai was still alive. He must be turning in his grave,” he said.
He added that it was ironic that Mr Chamisa was warming up to the Mugabes when he condemned them in November last year during the launch of Operation Restore Legacy.
“As for the Mugabes, the naivette of Chamisa is exposed by the fact that during the November revolution, the young man joined us in condemning Mugabe who caused the disappearance of MDC activists like Itai Dzamara,” he said.
“All of a sudden, Mugabe has become a saint and a darling to Chamisa. That is why we say that he should not get support from real MDC people.”