By Staff Reporter
Harare, April 04, 2016 – THE Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) has urged war veterans to use their Thursday meeting with President Robert Mugabe to ask the Zimbabwean leader to abandon his destructive economic policies and also restore democracy.
Thousands of the country’s liberators are set to hold a no-holds barred meeting with the veteran leader who on Saturday issued a pre-emptive attack on his militant support base for allegedly trying to play blackmail on him and his government.
Apart from their welfare issues, war veterans want Mugabe to rein in Generation 40, a group of younger Zanu PF politicians who have seized virtual control of the beleagured party through summary expulsions on their rivals.
G40 wants Mugabe to continue as President; short of that, they want Mugabe’s wife, Grace to succeed her 92 year old husband.
This has infuriated Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp, which enjoys sympathy from war veterans.
Through recent comments against the bossy ex-combatants, Mugabe is seen as siding with G40, something that has culminated in his snide comments against them and their violent dispersal by anti-riot police when they tried to hold a meeting in Harare in February.
But as they all head for Harare for their highly anticipated meeting, Joice Mujuru’s party has urged the country’s liberators to also push for a just country under Mugabe.
“We urge the war veterans, to seize the opportunity of their meeting with President Robert Mugabe, to remind him and his government, the need for a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe where every citizen enjoys the fundamental freedoms of association, choice, speech and the right to demonstrate and choose a government of their choice,” party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said in a Monday statement.
“We also believe that war veterans, as nationalists, would take this opportunity with their patron, to register displeasure at the economic policies pursued by Mugabe’s administration that are inimical to industrial growth and foreign direct investment.
“It is firm belief that the veterans of our liberation struggle will speak against the threat to close the few industries and banks that are soldiering on in an economic environment that is already investor unfriendly.”
ZimPF condemned President Mugabe for allegedly reducing war veterans into “charity cases which survive on the benevolence of the state president”.
“It is therefore incumbent upon the war veterans to speak and act against a system that has pauperized them while enriching a few unscrupulous individuals who obscenely flaunt their corruptly gotten wealth in the form of 50-bedroomed mansions while the generality of Zimbabweans reel under very debilitating economic conditions and are barely able to feed themselves once a day.
“We urge war veterans to remind Mugabe that true leaders do not boast about the houses they build. They boast about the investment they make in people – how they BUILD people.”
The fledgling party said it had a lot of respect for war veterans and war collaborators both of whose dignity they urged Mugabe to respect.
“We therefore urge all concerned to respect and give the War Veterans the dignity they deserve from all sectors of the community while, at the same time, urging war veterans to be the nationalists that we know they should, and fight for the total emancipation of the people,” said Gumbo.
“They should seize this opportunity to speak against the ills of their patron’s government, the plight of the generality of Zimbabweans and how this situation can be turned around, fundamentally, by democratizing our politics and national governance and pursuing economic policies that put the needs of our people first.”