FOLLOWING last week’s communique criticizing President Mugabe’s leadership, political temperature within the ruling party has been rising. Today Mugabe meets war veterans supporting his administration.
Mugabe is today expected to address a gathering fronted by a splinter group of the ex-combatants headed by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene and Bulawayo war veteran George Mlala, among others at the Zanu PF headquarters. Updates by Elias Mambo, Blessed Mhlanga and Richard Chidza
9:12 AM: It’s clear a lot of money has been invested into solidarity meeting for Mugabe. A powerful outdoor PA system belting out songs from the late Solomon Chimbetu.
9:13 AM: Simon sorry these smart phones here
9:15 AM: The stage arriving just now. ZBC was here early setting up its OB van for live coverage.
9:22: The contrast of the haves and have nots is so apparent here. Those being bussed hardly have decent shoes and those in elegant suits and fuel guzzling V8 SUVs
9:24 AM: They are all to prop up Mugabe
9:29 AM: Former Minister Webster Shamu arrives in a Mec E240
9:30 AM: You could think it’s a car parade at this solidarity meeting.
9:31 AM: Land Rover Disc 4, Merc’s Land Cruiser’s and the Ford double cabs.
9:37 AM: Choir singing VaMugabe chiwororo as more youths troop into the War Vets solidarity meeting.
9:47 AM: VaMugabe varikutonga changamukai- The irony of the song being sung here in line with the calls by protesters who are urging Zimbabweans to wake up and remove Mugabe from power.
9:49 AM: The weather here is cloudy and most who had come without jackets are shivering while waiting for their patron.
10:06 AM: Long queues forming outside HQ now as more people pour in. Cell leaders doing a row call amid reports that those not registered would be dealt with.
10:07 AM: Work on the stage still ongoing
10:10 AM: Elsewhere in the country as war vets sing Mugabe praise
10:34 AM: Numbers swelling here, with some ZanuPF supporters wearing the Zim flag.
10:35 AM: A Tonde standing next to me tells his friends to go inside so they can been seen before they can disappear
10:38 AM: School bus has brought some of the “war vets ”
10:44 AM: More people from Mash Central….Mash West…Mash East….buses arriving
10:45 AM: It looks more like a meeting of youths than for people who went to war some 36 years ago.
10:49 AM: “wecame to get update on our stands” youths from Mash Central
10:50 AM: A snr Zanu PF member tells me they are with Matemadanda and Mutsvangwa in heart although they can’t declare it openly. Is just here for appearances
10:59 AM: Cot yard now full supporters gathering outside the fence as work in the stage continues
10:59 AM: women war vets singing on stage…..hakuna muwar vet asingagoni kuimba seava….
11:00 AM: The discord u just wonder what happened at the pungwe meetings
11:01 AM: The atmosphere here is far from electric, it’s dull
11:04 AM: Most people heading off the buses straight into town not interested in attending the solidarity meeting
11:06 AM: Intake of opaque beer in public is apparently allowed here. Police not moved.
11:06 AM: MC shouting …ngatifarei ngatitambei…no one dancing
11:15 AM: Children who are supposed to be in school coming to meet their ‘patron’ under the guise of war vets
11:18 AM: Silence here as sound engineers work on the PA
11:18 AM: Blessed..the meeting has three groups…war vets..children if war vets and Zanu PG youths….the youths and children of war vets are coming to thnk Mugabe for stands…war vets …a show of solidarity after bashing their patron in a loaded communique
11:21 AM: Their advertisement only says ex detainees war collaborators and members of ZNLWA to meet our patron.
11:24 AM: Shadreck Mashayamombe cheered as he walked in
11:24 AM: Nearly 15 min gone with PA down its not clear what is happening on stage
11:28 AM: Chinotimba addressing
11:28 AM: Youths must go behind war vets
11:28 AM: Chants pasi nevanopandukira Mugabe
11:30 AM: We have those that assisted in the war and are now being called war vets. They are here
11:44 AM: Nyaruwata being cased from high table by security details
11:47 AM: Chimene remonstrating with members of faction
11:50 AM: Chinotimba negotiating fir Nyaruwata to be allowed to the high table
11:53 AM: Nyaruwata, Chinotimba, Chimene and crew forced to retreat
12:03 PM: Mugabe yet to arrive
12:05 PM: Shuvai Mahofa arrives
12:07 PM: President Mugabe arrives
12:25 PM: Tendai Savanhu also here
12:29 PM: Tambaoga of toilet fame reappears
13:14: George Mlala says Mgagao did not elect our leader
13:14: He was elected by the people
13:14: We thank you for what you did
13:15 You were part of a national program but the owners of the struggle were at home.
13:16: Those that think 36 yrs is too long go hand
13:17 So all of you have been in gvt retire as well
13:17: Mugabe was elected first black Prime Minister
13:17: He formed a gvt with all of you
13:19: Its surprising that some people claiming to be war veterans now want to tell us that 14 million people made a mistake
13:20: Mgagao was a simple camp. One of the camps which had no mandate to take a decision on behalf of other camps
13:20: If you did it, the people of Zimbabwe changed that in 1980