Harare – Zimbabwe's ex-freedom fighters are reportedly living in fear after President Robert Mugabe threatened to "squash" them over their stance on his successor, a report said on Wednesday.
According to NewsDay, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) leaders were on high alert and had beefed up their "personal security" after the threats by Mugabe.
The former freedom fighters claimed that Mnangagwa was the next in line to take over the presidency, adding that their decision to endorse him was "irreversible".
They also allegedly threatened bloodshed should Mnangagwa's bid to succeed Mugabe fail.
But Mugabe immediately issued a "strong warning", saying that his ruling Zanu-PF party would not be held to "ransom" by what he described as "dissidents".
The nonagenarian also warned the war veterans to "tread" carefully as he would respond with brutal force against "dissidents".
Unnamed sources claimed that amongst the people who were now fearing for their lives were war veterans chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, spokesperson Douglas Mahiya and secretary general Victor Matemadanda.
One of the sources revealed that the former freedom fighters believed that Mnangagwa, together with Mutsvangwa, could be the primary targets if Mugabe pushes ahead with his unspecified threats.
"There is genuine fear that ED (Mnangagwa) and (War veterans’ chairperson, Christopher) Mutsvangwa's lives are in danger. Given the fact that it was the president, the most powerful man in the country, who described people as dissidents and you tie this to history, then you can understand where we are coming from," an executive member of the ZNLWVA was cited as saying.