FORMER War veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda says he once had “undying love” for President Robert Mugabe but now sees his government as “evil” and dictatorial.
Sibanda told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday that Zanu PF had cultivated seeds of dictatorship by suggesting the country belongs to Mugabe.
The next general elections, the former war veterans’ leader said, provided Zimbabwe with an opportunity for “a new beginning” to fight all the “evils that have drowned this nation.”
“You know how much I have stood for this man [Mugabe], how much I loved him even with the past of the Fifth Brigade,” he said
“I believed in the man that is true, you can accuse me for that or you can beat me for that.
“I will not lie, I loved the man and believed in what he was saying,” Sibanda said.
“As for the 2018 elections, if Zimbabweans listen to what we say, we need a new beginning, a new set up of things that will fight the evils that have drowned this nation.
“All the evils in our country have been perfected, especially corruption.
“Everything has stopped in Zimbabwe, life has stopped and we need a new beginning.”
He said it was a fallacy to say that Mugabe was the only centre of power in Zanu PF and the country.
“We never fought, during the liberation struggle, for one person to become the centre of power. We fought so that the people become the centre of power because it is the people that nominate the president as candidate, it is the people that employ the president, it is the people that remove the president,” Sibanda said.
“The president is an authority and as long as we have a president acting as one centre of power, that is one simple way of dictatorship and that is not going to be allowed in the future of political season.
“Any party that has a president as a centre of power will be rejected,” Sibanda said.
Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and looks set to represent Zanu PF in the 2018 elections if he is not incapacitated owing to complications associated with old age. He will be 94 in 2018.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has even suggested that a special wheelchair be made for Mugabe, while other fierce Zanu PF supporters have said he should rule until he dies in office.
However, Sibanda said Muga-be should be humble and take a leaf from the late vice-president, Joshua Nkomo.
“When we liberated our country in 1980, Nkomo was offered first position of a president and he said no, he was happier even to work under Mugabe as a minister who was the leader of the other party,” he said.
“This scheme of accepting to work under somebody who is supposed to be a competitor has been lacking in our country.
“Nkomo was the first to do it and I am not seeing anyone who is standing up to say I can step down to another or even step down for my nation.
“People today are refusing to step down for what is supposed to be the progress of their nation,” he said.
Turning to Gukurahundi, Sibanda said there were no justifications for the 1980s disturbances that left an estimated 20 000 people dead.
“Nkomo was later removed from his position on other allegations which I will not dwell on today,” he said.
“Those are the allegations that eventually caused the genocide in our country, the death of our people in the country, thousands of our people.
“Actually, more than two thirds of our Zipra cadres died during that period.
“If you look at that, in this continent, we were the first to reach that mark.
“The reasons, surely [there were] no reasons that could have justified that genocide.
“There is no vice in this country that has never been perfected, genocide was,” Sibanda said.