Africa 2.8.2016 01:31 pm

ZCTU warns against trusting war veterans

FILE PICTURE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Picture: AFP PHOTO

FILE PICTURE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Picture: AFP PHOTO

The ZCTU boss said the arrest of war veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya and secretary general Victor Matemadanda came as no surprise.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has warned the people of Zimbabwe against fully trusting the country’s former liberation war fighters, saying they were more likely to give back their support to President Robert Mugabe and launch a violent campaign ahead of the 2018 elections if they got what they wanted.

“The ZCTU urges all pro-democracy individuals and organisations to be cautious in rendering support and solidarity to these ex-fighters who have the ability to wake up at the forefront of the state repressive machinery as we head towards the 2018 elections,” ZCTU Secretary General Japhet Moyo said in a statement Tuesday.

Moyo said the fact that the war veterans had put forward a plethora of demands from the state that amounted to extortion was reasonable grounds to believe that had Mugabe agreed to the demands, the war veterans would not have taken the current route.

He said nothing would stop the war veterans from potentially unleashing violence on citizens who criticised Mugabe as they had done since the 2000 land invasions, once the nonagenarian leader had given them what they were demanding.

“While condemning the unwarranted arrests, the ZCTU also notes that the war veterans, though reasonable in their observations, are acting selfishly and their actions are a case of sour grapes because they have been discarded by a system that they propped,” he said.

Moyo, however, said although the former freedom fighters had a tainted history of crushing dissenting voices to Mugabe’s rule, they had a right to express themselves and choose who they wanted to lead them.

“While the ZCTU might not agree with the war veterans’ choice of a successor to Mugabe because that is the prerogative of all Zimbabweans, their utterances must not be deemed to be an offence in a truly free Zimbabwe,” he said.

The ZCTU boss said the arrest of war veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya and secretary general Victor Matemadanda came as no surprise as Mugabe had warned that he would crack down on dissenting war veterans.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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