ZIMBABWE National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday hit back at President Robert Mugabe saying the ongoing arrests of war veterans was reminiscent of the Rhodesia-era repression.
Mutsvangwa, who has been removed as war vets minister and expelled from Zanu PF, said instead of cracking down on war veterans Mugabe should arrest corrupt officials, including ministers. He said Mugabe’s misplaced priorities, as evidenced by the crackdown on war veterans instead of dealing with people who loot public funds, had resulted in the economy collapsing.
“I condemn the arrest of my executive members. This comes in the wake of a mob justice type rally addressed by President Robert Mugabe yesterday (Wednesday),” said Mutsvangwa. “This high-handed over-reaction is surely uncalled for. Even the worst architects of the Rhodesian racist terror that led to genocide of thousands never got as much as this treatment after our independence.”
War veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya was arrested on Wednesday, while secretary-general Victor Matemadanda was picked up yesterday as Mugabe moves to silence dissenting voices amid growing social unrest in the country.
War veterans last week released describing Mugabe as a failed authoritarian leader who had abandoned ideals of the liberation struggle and ruined the economy. They demanded he should step down and also announced they had withdrawn their support for him.
“I call upon the President as Head of State to arrest forthwith the police action and the persecution of my comrades. As a fellow revolutionary and renowned statesman, why is he allowing such treatment of comrades who as young men sacrificed all they had including offering their life so freedom could be attained?” Mutsvangwa said.
“From that sacrifice, Mugabe ended up being elected president in sovereign Zimbabwe. And why the lopsided application of justice?”
Mutsvangwa also said “the likes of Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Sarah Mahoka, Mandi Chimene and other G40 cohorts have subjected Zimbabwe to every gross monstrosity”.
“As ministers, the G40 likes of Samuel Undenge plunder the public funds at will. No wonder Zimbabwe is now in economic ruin,” he said. “I appeal to the president: Can’t we just get our national priorities right? Surely an announced withdrawal of political support by my executive colleagues, no matter how wounding to historical pride, cannot be grounds for such over-reaction.”