ANOTHER HEADACHE FOR MUGABE | The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is plotting the mother-of-all-demonstrations in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to leave office.
Mugabe, 93, has been refusing to leave office despite immense pressure from his ruling Zanu PF party, the army and the citizens, who took to the streets last Saturday in a bid to push him out.
After infuriating his rivals by his failure to resign during a televised address on Sunday, ZNLWVA has resolved to mobilise citizens to stage another demonstration “immediately” in the hope that the show of numbers would move Mugabe into resigning.
The country’s ex-liberation war fighters are also initiating court action to legalise the military action against Mugabe after the army seized power mid last week.
“Save the country further turmoil. If not, we are bringing the people of Zimbabwe back to the streets,” ZNLWVA chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, said as he also called for less restrained protests than those staged at the weekend in an effort to dislodge Mugabe.
“This time there will be a sit-in. We are not going to be leaving Harare until this guy is gone. “He’s lost his marbles,” said Mutsvangwa.
Earlier on Sunday, the ruling Zanu PF party voted to sack Mugabe as its leader.
It also axed First Lady Grace Mugabe and about a quarter of the ministers who make up the veteran ruler’s Cabinet.
Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare yesterday that they were not leaving anything to chance in their move to see Mugabe out.
The former War Veterans minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet said while politicians were embarking on the impeachment process, citizens must voice their demands to ensure Mugabe leaves sooner than later.
“We the war veterans are calling on the people to come back and we are appealing to the business community wherever you are, we saw the generous support which you gave on Saturday, now we want even more support. It will be a sit-in until the back of Mugabe is seen by the people of Zimbabwe. We are not going to be leaving Harare until he is gone,” Mutsvangwa said in his address.
“The message is very clear and we are also appealing to the Diaspora, they come from every village of Zimbabwe, from wherever you are, if you sponsored an individual last time to come to the march, sponsor two, if you sponsored a kombi last time to come from your village to come to this march against Mugabe, please sponsor two buses.
“We want the whole population to descend upon Harare and give an unmistakable message that we want to see Mugabe’s back, the country has to start on a new page. His rule has been disastrous, particularly the last 15 years, your country has been reduced to the level of deprivations, Zimbabwe has gone through worse than a country that has gone to war and he is totally oblivious of the damage which he has done to the nation because he is pre-occupied with indulging this coterie (G40 faction) . . .,” Mutsvangwa said.
The move to push Mugabe out comes after the army took over government operations last week, claiming they intend to weed out criminals around the nonagenarian leader.
The development saw the arrest of several government officials, while others went into hiding as Zanu PF went on to recall Mugabe from his position.
Despite his recall, Mugabe has refused to leave office, claiming all will be sorted at the party’s congress slated for next month.
But his party is of the view that Mugabe has overstayed his welcome after a solid 37 years in power.
Mutsvangwa said people can start coming immediately to Harare for another march.
“So those who didn’t leave, they should not go and those who left should bring two or three more back to Harare. That’s what we are saying . . . this time for good measure we may want to bring them a little closer to the Blue Roof (Mugabe’s Borrowdale private residence) when they come.
“We have initiated legal action in the High Court of Zimbabwe. We have gone to the court today, to say that Mugabe was derelict of his executive duty, forcing the head of the army to intervene to arrest criminals. The army has now done its job and the people of Zimbabwe on Saturday took off from where the army had left and that is why we are calling upon the people of Zimbabwe to say he is dragging his feet a little longer than is due. So we want to ensure that he leaves now, we want to see his back now, your rule is over, the emperor has no clothes,” he said.
The war veterans, who have cited Mugabe, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, army commander Constantino Chiwenga and Attorney-General Prince Machaya, as respondents in the application, are seeking a declaratory order.
“The actions of the Defence Forces in intervening to stop the takeover of the first respondent (Mugabe)’s constitutional functions by those around him are constitutionally permissible and lawful in terms of Section 212 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe in that they arrest the first respondent’s abdication of constitutional functions. Mugabe had literally abdicated his constitutional functions; he was in dire dereliction of duty.
“Secondly, they ensure that non-elected officials specifically his wife, should not make pronouncements on the Judiciary, Parliament or anything, she doesn’t exist in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, she is absolutely mad, she is clinically mad.
So we want to ensure that non-elected officials should not exercise executive functions…,” Mutsvangwa said, adding that they seek an order declaring the army’s actions constitutionally valid.