ZANU PF officials aligned to the G40 faction believe the similarities of statements given by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga on Independence Day and those given by war veteran Tawanda Chipato during a meeting with President Robert Mugabe a fortnight ago, bears testimony that the military were behind the war veterans who are supporting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.
By Elias Mambo
The war veterans have been a pillar of strength for Mnangagwa and his backers at a time the vice president was under the cosh from the marauding G40 faction, which is backed by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The war veterans, whose leader Chris Mutsvangwa, was suspended from Zanu PF however stood up to Mugabe and Grace.
Mugabe met war veterans on April 7, but before the indaba, he castigated the ex-combatants for attempting to influence the course Zanu PF, should take insisting the war veterans’ body was just an affiliate of Zanu PF which had no mandate to interfere in the party’s affairs.
In a direct response to Mugabe, the war veterans however said they were “stockholders” of the party.
“President, we are stockholders of Zanu PF and those who are now running the party are stakeholders. Stakeholders can get out of the party, but as stockholders, we cannot go anywhere else,” Chipato said, presenting a paper on threats to Zanu PF.
Chiwenga, in an interview with the state media on Monday, said the security sector was on high alert, in the wake of last week’s demonstration by MDC-T adding that the military were “stockholders” of the country, a phrase that resonates with a position held by liberation war fighters.
“We are stockholders of the country. Some are stakeholders. Stakeholders will come and go, but stockholders have nowhere to go, so we are stockholders, we came with it (Zimbabwe),” Chiwenga said.
G40 members told Zimbabwe Independent that the similarity in Chiwenga and Chipato’s speeches was because the military coached the war veterans.
Chiwenga has sided with Mnangagwa in the succession battle resulting in bad blood between him and the First Family.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, a key G40 member, this week taunted Chiwenga on twitter over his statements. Moyo said Zimbabweans were the stockholders of the country and not the military.
“To the extent that stockholders are stakeholders, the people are the only stockholders in and of Zimbabwe in terms of the Constitution.”
He added: “Individuals come and go, but the people remain. That’s why Zimbabwe’s Constitution recognises only the people as the only stockholders of power!”