Felex Share in Bindura—
President Robert Mugabe yesterday said he will meet war veterans during the first week of April for a frank and candid interaction which will allow the freedom fighters to air their grievances on all aspects. Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters at Chipadze Stadium here, he said the planned meeting would be all encompassing as it would feature Cabinet Ministers and commanders in charge of the country’s security sectors in their capacity as war veterans.
This comes after the war veterans, under the leadership of Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, had their meeting cancelled last month because it was not sanctioned by the police.
The President said the meeting would be an opportunity to correct some war veterans who, of late, have gone rogue and displayed wayward behaviour. “We want all the war veterans to come to Harare during the first week of April, you will be informed about the date,” he said.
“Come and let us discuss and we will also want to hear all your grievances. But we would also want to correct the awful thoughts among some of us who’ve imparted these appalling opinions to the youths who have gone to the extent of denigrating the First Lady and the President publicly.
“A lot of dirt is being said through the internet denigrating the leadership as a result of the influence of people like Mutsvangwa,” he said. President Mugabe said such terrible and selfish agendas were being driven by ambitious party cadres who wanted leadership positions, including the Presidency.
He said he was free to step down from his post as long as people removed him at the right time and following laid down procedures. “Such thinking is emanating from the belief that the President has overstayed and therefore should therefore stepdown”.
“If that’s the case, why did we go for the elections in 2013? You want me to leave in the middle of my term? Wait for the congress. If you’ve individuals you think can do better that the President then you can forward their names. So, war veterans, come to Harare and we talk about these issues.
“We shouldn’t fear each other because we want you to say what’s deep down your hearts). President Mugabe said it was unfortunate that some people, who should be championing development in the country, were mudslinging the country’s leadership to investors. “That’s where we’re differing,” he said.
“And some of you’re going as far as China telling them that we need a new leader. At the African Union we’re trying to elevate our country and yet here, you’re busy pulling me down. We should’ve respect to our leadership. If there are contradictions, we sit down and iron out the differences.”
He added: “War veterans, we know you’ve the capacity, as displayed during the liberation struggle, to mobilise people. We want you to persuade, through our ideology, people to be our members not to elect yourselves and disassociate yourselves from the party. No!”
President Mugabe said greedy party cadres would go the Mujuru cabal way, whose recently formed Zimbabwe People First would not last the distance. He said former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was fired for planning to topple him, had for long tried to destroy the party with the “bhora musango” concept but failed.
“It’s surprising that now she claims that the elections were rigged,” President Mugabe said. “You tell (Morgan) Tsvangirai (MDC-T leader) that the elections were rigged and where were you when they were being rigged? We’ll never steal elections because we’ve the support.”
President Mugabe went on: “We tried to develop her and even encouraged her to go to school but aah, we saw a lot. This issue of being ambitious is problematic. I was elected in 2013 for five years. We’ll go for elections at our next congress and those who want to takeover should come forward. If you’re voted for by the people then its okay,”
President Mugabe said while the Zanu-PF Women’s League was united, there was need for the Youth League to iron out differences and move in one direction.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe said something needed to be done at Altena Farm in Centenary, a place where liberation fighters marked the beginning of the second and decisive phase of the liberation struggle in 1972.
“If nothing has been done, we’ve to sit down and see what can be done. The farm should be in our hands,” President Mugabe said.