Mugabe and war veterans to face off at congress

war_veterans3MUTARE A bigger section of war veterans in Manicaland have said that they are tired of being used to help the party win elections and then forgotten forgotten by Zanu (PF) and have demanded to face President Robert Mugabe (pictured) directly at the forthcoming congress.

The 11th Zanu (PF) National Congress will be held in Mutare from December 15 to18.

As war veterans in Manicaland we have agreed that we should be given the floor to say out everything. Some of us have not been given the chance to talk important issues pertaining to our status as war veterans. We have already held a caucus meeting and we agreed that we will say out views and concerns effecting the war veterans.

All along some provincial leaders have been blocking the chance for us to meet the President. We were surprised to see that we were omitted in some important meetings and there were some tactics employed to avoid us. Now that the President will be here, we will talk to him, said a war veteran based in Mutare.

War veterans in Manicaland have been affected by power struggles for some time. One group reportedly belongs to James Chitakatira while the other one is said to be aligned to James Kaunye.

There is another group of war veterans that is said to be aligned to Vladimir Mukada a group that is more popular than the other two.

Information available reveals that a large number of war veterans have vowed to vote for the opposition in the event that the elections are held next year if their demands are not solved at the congress.

The war veterans have accused Mugabe of forgetting them.

Mugabe is rewarding selected senior civil servants and chiefs with hefty salaries and perks as a token of appreciation. But, he forgets that we fought the war and liberated this country. I think the President (Mugabe) is being misled by some people who claim to be war veterans. True war veterans are there and we know them and they are now quiet because they are tired of being used.

Their silence means a lot and this is why we have been seeing Zanu (PF) losing grip by each election. This (conference) is a platform where we want to tell him (Mugabe) the truth.

An angry war veteran who identified himself as Cde Ground Force Mhungu said: We are tired of being used. We have been promised many things but it seems that we are being forgotten. We have tried to raise the issue through our leadership but nothing has materialized.

All what we are saying is Zimbabwe should have a section where all war veterans should be rewarded and have special consideration. Mugabe is only rewarding few selected war veterans like army brigadiers and police senior commissioners whom he is providing with 4x4s pick up trucks, good houses and perks. We are all equal and we should be treated equally. Otherwise we fought better battles than those who are enjoying life in Zanu (PF), said Cde Ground Force.

They only want us to attend their rallies and vote them into power. Do we vote with empty stomachs? Do we attend their rallies and meetings with empty stomachs? asked another war veteran.

Impeccable sources have said that Zanu (PF) has lost a bigger number of war veterans in recent elections considering the outcomes of the elections.

The war veterans further said that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has already won the hearts of many and Mugabe should revise his tactics to avoid further humiliation in the forthcoming elections.

Tsvangirai knows that Zanu (PF) is full of cowards. War veterans are destitutes and we are leading a life full of hell. They have completely forgotten us. I do not have anything to show as a war veteran. We have become a laughing stock in our areas. So this is the chance for us to have our say. Enough is enough, said Ground Force with a voice that was full of emotions.

Some war veterans in Manicaland have threatened to back PM Tsvangirai for president if their concerns are not addressed immediately.

In one of his rallies at Sakubva stadium at Sakubva stadium in August Tsvangirai said war veterans gave their loyalty to the cause of the liberation of the country and they have only remembered Zanu (PF) as the party for liberation for 30 years.

But the truth is that the war veterans are among the most exploited of our people. Their courage is no defence against the devastation brought by the dictatorship. If the war veterans want to know what the government could have done for them, they need to look at other nations of the world.

In those countries war veterans are loved and respected by all the people. War veterans are represented in cabinet honoured for their services and helped with medical care, housing and education for their children, said Tsvangirai amid applause from the gathering.

He added that the war veterans had been neglected for 30 years and they were not getting any younger. An MDC government would establish a national trust fund to aid them, he said.

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