I am under pressure, Mugabe tells SADC


HARARE - For the first time, Zanu (PF) leader Robert Mugabe has admitted his vulnerability in the face of an internal party revolt.

In an effort to justify his intransigence in holding on to the ministry of home affairs, he reportedly told a meeting of regional leaders that ceding the ministry to the MDC would be a risk to his party’s unity pact with PF Zapu in 1987.

Zanu claims that the ministry has always been reserved for a minister from the old Zapu, although there is no written agreement to this effect. The politburo has reportedly warned Mugabe of a major internal split in his party if he concedes the home affairs ministry to the MDC. Mugabe is under increased pressure from within Zanu (PF) as many senior party members, who have been in power since 1980, know their days are numbered due to the power-sharing arrangement.

Tsvangirai had already agreed that Zanu (PF) should continue to control defence and the intelligence services, and told the SADC troika, that it was only fair the party should be allocated home affairs. This was necessary to strike a balance in the security ministries, he said.

Mugabe has always tried to strike a tribal balance within his cabinet, appointing a cross-section of Zezuru, Manyika, Karanga and Ndebele ministers.

In what is seen as a precursor to a major internal upheaval, this week, a small group of former Nkomo loyalists announced that they have split from the main war veterans’ association. This, a group traditionally loyal to Mugabe, combines ex-fighters from both Mugabe’s Zanla and Nkomo’s Zipra guerrilla groups and has been used by Mugabe as his storm-troops to effect extra-judicial enforcement of Zanu (PF) wishes.

Now veterans who fought the liberation war under Zipra, the military wing of the Joshua Nkomo-led liberation movement PF-Zapu, have broken ranks with the mainstream Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA).

They complain of ostracism from colleagues who fought under Zanla, the former military wing of President Mugabe’s Zanu party, composed mainly of members of Mugabe’s Shona tribal grouping.

Only a handful of Zipra combatants, the dissidents say, are benefiting from  ministerial, ambassadorial and senior civil service appointments or other  government-supported programmes, whereas their Zanla colleagues are benefiting immensely from the State even under the recent power-sharing deal with the MDC.

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