Zim war vets blast Motlanthe, SADC


Borrie La Grange Published:
Nov 17, 2008

ZIMBABWEAN war veterans have blasted President Kgalema Motlanthe and the
South African Development Community over their inability to resolve the
stand-off between Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and the Movement for
Democratic Change.

a.. "It is kindergarten stuff for SADC. If you call children to solve this,

they will come up with a better solution than these leaders. It is simple.

We want an answer from Motlanthe. We want him to condemn Mugabe. We would

have liked him to be more forthright. If the chairperson [of SADC] is not

willing to reign in someone, how can you call him a leader?" Wilfred Mhanda,

secretary of the Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum, told The Times.

The forum, consisting of fighters who restarted the Zimbabwean independence

war in 1975, met in Pretoria at the weekend at Idasa.

Mhanda said South Africans will not be convinced of Motlanthe’s leadership

abilities if he cannot hold a SADC member to account.

Last week Motlanthe talked tough when he chaired an extraordinary SADC

summit in Sandton, but despite slating Mugabe and the MDC’s Morgan

Tsvangirai for political immaturity, they were no closer to forming a unity


Disagreement over the allocation of ministries, especially over control of

the important ministry of home affairs, has scuppered progress towards

forming a national unity government, as agreed in the September 15

power-sharing deal brokered by former president Thabo Mbeki.

[Both want the Home Affairs ministry because it controls Zimbabwe’s police

and intelligence services.]

"We as liberation fighters and senior commanders feel the ideals we fought

for have been betrayed by people like Robert Mugabe. We had hoped our

colleagues, who fought for liberation in South Africa, Namibia and

Mozambique, would hold Mugabe to account. But he is trying to wriggle out of

the [September 15 power sharing] agreement and the guarantors of that

agreement, SADC and the African union, just stand by with their arms

folded – cowed into submission by Mugabe. Why?" Mhanda wanted to know.

"There was a free and fair election on March 29, which the MDC won. And now

you find that spineless leaders are siding with the loser. What was the

struggle for? To support someone who is killing his people? It is a shame on

the whole of humanity."

Happyson Nenji, member of the forum, said that while the collapse of state

services in Zimbabwe is now virtually complete, SADC was negating its own

principals by not denouncing Mugabe’s intransigence. "SADC should enforce

the principals as they did after the June 27 one-man election. All it takes

is their voice. We are not asking for soldiers to be sent to Zimbabwe. It is

simple. SADC must condemn Mugabe first, like with the election and then seek

the solution. But why are they afraid of him? Where in the world have you

seen people share a ministry? You are asking the winner to surrender to the

loser," Nenji said.

Mhanda and Augustus Mudzwingwa warned South Africans that not holding heads

of state and SADC to account would invariably lead to the Zimbabwean crisis

repeating itself in neighbouring states in the future: "Zimbabwe does not

exist in a vacuum. South Africa and the rest of the reason are not immune to

the fall-out. You will be the next victims. In the end you will loose

everything if you do not act out of self interest and for the greater good,

in demanding respect for democratic principals. Once you abandon those

principals you become vulnerable too. You sacrifice your freedom," Mhanda


Mudzwingwa said: Our freedom was usurped. The behaviour of the leaders of

SADC surprises us. Do they not realise this may actually happen in South

Africa or Mozambique? People have to open their eyes. Demand that your

leaders learn from the Zimbabwean situation. You are being forewarned and

fore armed."

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