Zimbabwe government on Saturday, July 23, 2016, described as “treasonous” a statement by war veterans berating Robert Mugabe, the country’s long serving president, and his regime for brutal attacks on his opponents.
In an unprecedented rebuke of the long-time president, The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), issued a statement on Thursday, July 21, 2016, decrying Mugabe’s “dictatorial tendencies” and for presiding over a declining economy.
The veterans of the country’s 1970s liberation war, and staunch allies of Mugabe, vowed they would not support him if he seeks to be re-elected in 2018.
But the government has dismissed the statement, saying it had launched an investigation to establish its origins and that those behind it will be brought to justice.
“The government dismisses that traitorous so called communiqué, which is treasonous in the constitutional democracy that Zimbabwe is, with utter disdain and all the contempt it deserves,” secretary of the War Veterans ministry, Walter Tapfumaneyi, said in a statement.
“Multy-agency investigations are underway to establish its origin, its authorship, ownership and purpose,” he said, adding that government would “bring all associated with it to justice.” He said.
Opposition to Mugabe’s rule has grown in recent months as the country’s economic woes surges while his Zanu-PF party is in turmoil over his succession.
Starting in 2000, the war veterans supported the seizures of white-owned commercial farms in what Mugabe said was a reversal of injustices from the colonial era.
The war veterans’ statement came in the wake of a surge of public demonstrations that has forced many into the streets in recent weeks, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.
Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe since the country’s independence in 1980.