A NEW group of war veterans calling itself United War Veterans, which comprises Zipra and Zanla cadres has told Zanu-PF secretary for war veterans’ welfare Douglas Mahiya to stop abusing former liberation fighters by ordering them to campaign for the ruling party.
Members of the United War Veterans are drawn from former Zipra and Zanla liberation war fighters.
Last weekend, Mahiya urged war veterans in Tsholotsho to play a leading role in campaigning for the ruling party in the March 26 by-elections and the 2023 general elections.
Mahiya made the statement in Tsholotsho during a campaign rally for the Zanu-PF by-election candidate for Tsholotsho South, Musa Ncube.
“The reason I am here is to introduce our candidate Ncube. The President [Emmerson Mnangagwa] has asked war veterans to lead in the campaigns because they know why they fought to liberate this country. We need to defend the revolution, hence the need to educate the people on the importance of voting for Zanu-PF,” Mahiya said during the rally.
Zanla representative in the group Godfrey Gurira urged Mahiya to stop forcing the former freedom fighters to a take partisan stance.
“We went to war in order to have certain freedoms such as ‘one man one vote’. War veterans should stand aside and let people that they liberated choose who they want to vote for. We do not want people who just toe the line without giving their whole mind to it. What guarantee is there that Zanu-PF should always be the custodians of the ideals of the revolution, what if it goes astray? Some war veterans no longer take Zanu-PF seriously,” Gurira said.
He said the ruling party arrested war veterans that demonstrated over low pensions and should not seek their allegiance.
“Zanu-PF is only interested in using us to campaign for it, but is not interested in our welfare,” he said.
Zipra representative in the group Petros Sibanda said every war veteran had the right to support a political party of their choice, not just Zanu-PF.
“We can no longer afford to be used as campaign tools for Zanu-PF,” Sibanda said.
In past elections, the ruling Zanu-PF party used war veterans to instil fear among the masses during electoral campaigns.