HARARE – War veterans’ flip-flopping concerning their participation in the one million-man march in support of President Robert Mugabe has attracted scorn from social and political commentators.
The fighters of the 70s liberation war previously distanced themselves from the planned march saying Mugabe was not under threat from anyone and that resources sourced to mobilise people from the provinces would be better used if they were channelled towards the empowerment of youths in Zimbabwe.
Yet last week, the war veterans were singing a different tune, saying they will now participate in the march since they were invited by their patron, Mugabe.
Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said the ex-liberation fighters were now severely compromised.
“As a group that was crying foul over their neglect just a few months ago at the hands of government, they have now turned turtle and are ready to sing its praises,” Lewanika said.
“It seems fairly obvious that they have either been co-opted or hijacked as a group, or are a schizophrenic lot who are inconsistent in terms of their values and causes as well as reading of the political climate.
“Either way it’s bad, and one would expect greater objectiveness from the executors of the struggle for liberation, including sanctioning their own when they become errant and irresponsible as some of their peers in government have become.”
Veteran journalist Nevanji Madanhire said the war vets really have to redefine themselves and locate themselves appropriately in the politically amorphous Zimbabwean situation to multitudes of people, especially those not linked to, or fighting Zanu PF.
“They have become a supernumerary grouping that serves no purpose except to remind the nation of their baser exploits during the heady days of the country’s political crisis when they visited extreme violence on innocent civilians.
“War vets are struggling to find space in Zanu PF and national politics. No one can trust them and what they purport to stand for.”
Media activist Tabani Moyo said the about-turn exposes the plot that the people marching are not doing so for solidarity with Mugabe.
“If the march is in solidarity with Mugabe one wonders why he is inviting people to participate in it. It shows that it’s being organised from his office to send a message elsewhere.
“All the same, I must repeat, this is a useless march and diversionary ploy to pull wool on the face of the peoples of Zimbabwe,” said Moyo.
Playwright and actor Silvanos Mudzvova said the leaders of war vets were unprincipled.
“War vets cannot be trusted and they have to know that the crimes they committed before in the name of Mugabe will come back to haunt them very soon.
“Those war vets have committed very serious crimes, as such they can’t move away from their master who protects them from arrest. They know at a personal level that Zimbabweans are suffering, but they can’t move away from Mugabe.”
Mining activist Farai Muguwu said the last genuine contribution of war veterans to Zimbabwe was during the liberation struggle.
“Mugabe has carefully managed them by keeping them on the fringes of society while ironically abusing their liberation credentials to advance his personal, political and economic interests.
“If the war veterans had been professionally integrated into society after the struggle and supported to engage in various professional adventures, they would be the champions of freedom and democracy.
“But alas, they remain the wretched of the earth, a cheated lot robbed of both a past and a future.”