Zimbabwe

War veterans attack 'beginning of the end' for Mugabe, say analysts

2016-07-24 08:29
Robert Mugabe (AP)

Robert Mugabe (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - Zimbabwe's war veterans' surprise attack on President Robert Mugabe signals the "beginning of the end" for the long-time leader, already buckling under pressure from a restive population angry over worsening economic woes.

In a rare public rebuke to the world's oldest president, war veterans decried Mugabe's "dictatorial tendencies" and vowed to withdrawal their support if he seeks re-election in 2018.

- Read more: Zim war veterans denounce 'dictatorial' Mugabe

"This is the beginning of the end for Mugabe," said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist from Masvingo State University.

"The war veterans have realised Mugabe is sinking and with him his regime. They don't want to sink with the ship," said Zhou.

For decades, the war veterans who fought in the 1972-1979 war of independence have propped up Mugabe as the "heart and soul" and "foot soldiers" of the ruling Zanu-PF party, said analyst Charles Laurie of London-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

'Mugabe must go'

But during a meeting last week, the war veterans said their relationship with Mugabe, 92, was seriously damaged.

"The relationship between us as war veterans and the president has broken down. He and the party do not like us anymore," the war veterans' political commissar Francis Nhando said.

The ruling party last week launched a project to reward party loyalists with housing plots, but excluded war veterans who over the years were given first priority in party and government projects.

"We very angry with what the president is doing," Beta Guvheya, a war veteran, told AFP.

"There is no money in this country not because the country is poor... but we don't have a manager," said Guvheya.

"That is the reason we are saying Mugabe must go. Mugabe is not going to win an election. No one is interested in Mugabe's government now."

Rock bottom

Former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda said: "We have reached rock bottom. People are angry."

Sibanda who was expelled from Zanu-PF party for warning over the excessive influence of Mugabe's wife Grace, said the country's leadership "has lost touch with reality".

"By withdrawing support for Mugabe, the war veterans have dealt a serious blow to the embattled dictator," said Laurie, adding that their "proclamation seems to mark a decisive break with Zanu-PF".

Editor of the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent Dumisani Muleya said the country was in unchartered territory.

"The war veterans' historic stand against Mugabe could be Zimbabwe's political decisive moment. It might be a turning point of epoch-making proportions," Muleya said.

Muleya warned that if the war veterans joined forces with the national resistance movement driven by civic groups, churches and opposition parties, Mugabe "could soon face his Waterloo".

The country has in recent weeks been hit by protests including a mass strike called by an evangelical pastor Evan Mawarire, which shut business earlier this month.

"I am glad everyone is standing up" (against Mugabe), said Sibanda.

'Treason'

Authorities in Zimbabwe on Saturday denounced the war veterans' statement as "treasonable" and "traitorous" and said they were investigating its origin and threatened to prosecute the authors.

Starting in 2000, the war veterans led seizures of white-owned commercial farms in what Mugabe said was a reversal of imbalances from the colonial era.

Their statement came in the wake of a surge of public anger against Mugabe, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

Mugabe's party is split between his wife Grace and vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa as Mugabe's possible successors.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.