Zim’s war vets want leadership positions

Zimbabwe’s powerful war veterans have demanded more leadership positions in government and the party, arguing that the ruling party is under threat from self-serving leaders.

In a meeting held on Thursday with President Robert Mugabe, over 10 000 ex-fighters weighed into factional fights that they say could split the ruling Zanu PF party.

About 60 000 people including civilians died in the civil war that raged for over a decade.

Over 36 years later, the former fighters believe the ruling party is being derailed from the liberation values that Zimbabwe was founded on.

The first meeting called by the war veterans was brutally put down by the police.

“If people say I must go, then I will go, but let’s not battle about succession. We have enemies trying to destroy us – so let’s unite,”Mugabe said.

The war veterans want preferential access to land, mining and economic opportunities – as well as better health and education
benefits for ex fighters and their children. The veterans demand that key party positions be held by former fighters.

In an apparent reference to the recent elevation of the First Lady, they also called for a ban of slogans and songs in praise of anyone other than President Mugabe.

In 1997, Mugabe bowed to pressure to pay over 100 million US dollars in war victims compensation to the fighters,
leading to crash in value of the Zimbabwe dollar.