ZIMBABWE – President Mugabe’s warning to Zanu-PF members against factional fighting linked to successionism is final and there should be no further debate around “petty” differences, a senior Politburo official has said.
This comes as the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association yesterday welcomed President Mugabe’s apology to its members and commended the Head of State’s swift action to quell tensions following ugly scenes that saw ex-combatants clash with police on Thursday.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo told The Sunday Mail yesterday that the First Secretary’s words could not be challenged. Dr Chombo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said the party should focus on delivering development as promised to the electorate.
“What the President said is a direct instruction to all party members and no one has the authority to challenge that. All party members should therefore obey the President who is our Head of State, party First Secretary and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
“As a party we should heed the call to focus on unity and not things that divide us. From the party point of view, the direction has been given and all members are only left to comply and put aside all petty differences forthwith.
“From now on focus should be on ensuring that the Zanu-PF Government delivers upon the wishes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe without fail.
“There is now no reason to focus on differences that divide us and (we should) all rally behind what the President said so that as a party and Government we deliver.”
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, the war veterans group led by Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said they welcomed President Mugabe’s intervention.
The war vets said they had been “humbled” by President Mugabe’s swift words of comfort.
“The events of Thursday 18th February 2016 are deplorable and have cast a dark shadow over the relationship between the revolutionary elements in our party Zanu-PF and the State.
“We are, however, humbled and encouraged by the prompt intervention of His Excellency, the President Robert Mugabe in extending an apology and words of comfort to the injured comrades.”
The war veterans said they would withdraw their court action against the Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner-General of Police contesting the banning of their rally.
However, they said they would still pursue a legal case against Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Kudzai Chipanga, who insulted the ex-combatants and also challenged them to war.
“Accordingly, the matter which we had filed against the Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police will be withdrawn; but that against Kudzai Chipanga will proceed,” they said.
ZNLWVA secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda accused journalists of trying to strain the relationship between the President and Cde Mutsvangwa.
Responding to questions on whether Cde Mutsvangwa’s castigation by President Mugabe would result in him losing his chairmanship of the organisation, Cde Matemadenda said: “As far as we are concerned as war veterans, Mutsvangwa is our chairman and he has a term to serve. He is leading us well and we have provincial chairpersons here because they support him. People are saying they want Mutsvangwa. He is not leading the President but he is leading us.”
The freedom fighters said President Mugabe’s apology affirmed the unique bond between him and war veterans.
“The intervention by His Excellency has confirmed the historic bonds of comradeship which exist between his Excellency and the war veterans of the liberation.
“We are confident of procuring his Excellency’s assurance in facilitation of the holding of the association’s meeting without hindrance.”
Cde Mutemadanda said the war veterans were planning to go ahead with their meeting, saying they believed the President had given his blessing during his Friday evening address.
“There is not going to be any hurdle now, the order was to allow us to convene our general meeting and that the President has said he has no problem with it. We are going to convene the meeting without hindrance,” he said.
President Mugabe told G40 and Team Lacoste to shut up.
“We don’t want to hear any divisive voice from you. The G40s or what you call Lacoste or whatever, shut up! You belong to Zimbabwe first and foremost whatever you must say. Shut up! Let us not hear any divisive voice from you – the G40s or what you call Lacoste, whatever!”