The government is tightening the noose around the necks of war veterans implicated in the drafting of a damning communiqué, amid reports a probe into who authored the document has been extended to the military and senior government officials.
Sources yesterday said senior government officials were being accused of being responsible for the communiqué and were implicated in a plot to unseat President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has already warned of severe punishment for those implicated in drawing up the communiqué.
This comes as Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday said a comprehensive report of the findings will be released on Friday.
There are also manoeuvres to ensure that war veterans linked to the communiqué are stripped of all their privileges, such as allowances, farms and school fees for their children.
NewsDay sources said the probe said some senior government officials were said to be the brains behind the communiqué released by war veterans at an emotionally-charged meeting held at Raylton Sports Club in Harare, two weeks ago.
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube declined to shed light on the progress of the probe and targets of the findings.
“We are still investigating, once we find out, we will make it known to everyone,” Dube said.
Asked who funded the war veterans’ meeting, which released the communiqué said to be “treasonable and traitorous”, Dube said: “I don’t know. They have held many meetings and they said they fund themselves.”
“Those who funded the meeting are linked to the communiqué. The meeting was planned as a platform to release the communiqué and senior government officials, working to advance their factional interests, have been implicated by the probe,” a source said.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, arrested last
Wednesday, as the State launched its dragnet, is today expected to appear in court for bail ruling.
The witch-hunt comes as Christopher Mutsvangwa’s ZNLWVA executive has rallied behind Mnangagwa, as its choice to succeed Mugabe.
Mnangagwa has distanced himself from the alleged race and plot to unseat Mugabe.
On Friday, he told journalists in Harare he was not a factional leader and distanced himself from Team Lacoste, which he is alleged to be leading.
Meanwhile, there are fresh moves to withdraw all education benefits for children of war veterans aligned to Mutsvangwa, as part of punishment for their participation at the Raylton Sports Club meeting, which produced the damning communiqué.
“We are living in fear, because since the communiqué was released, most of our members have received masked calls from unknown persons warning us to dump Mutsvangwa,” a highly- placed war veteran, who refused to be named, said.
George Mlala, who organised last week’s solidarity meeting, said any war veteran outside Zanu PF was a deserter, who should not enjoy any benefits from the Zanu PF-led government.
“Those outside Zanu PF cannot claim any privileges, they are deserters, we were sent to war by the party, it is the party that sourced arms for us and, therefore, there cannot be a war veteran outside the party,” he said.
Dube, however, said there was no policy to withdraw benefits to registered war veterans under whatever circumstance.
“I have told Mlala several times, I think it is now up for you journalists to write in Ndebele so that he will understand that registered war veterans will continue to receive government support,” he said.
The war veterans have, however, vowed to continue supporting Mutsvangwa.
Masvingo’s ZNLWVA national executive member, Francis Zimuto, popularly known as Black Jesus, yesterday said genuine war veterans will continue supporting Mutsvangwa’s executive until it has been legally dissolved.
“We have heard of those threats, but that is nonsense, there are war veterans, who have joined Zimbabwe People First, some are in the MDC-T and they still have their farms and should be getting their fees paid, it’s their constitutional right,” he said.