Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government “must stop harassing former leader Robert Mugabe and accord him his constitutional rights to association and other reforms”, the newly formed political outfit, the New Patriotic Front (NPF) has reportedly said.
Ambrose Mutinhiri, a former brigadier, who was also a cabinet minister, quit the ruling Zanu-PF party recently and formed the NPF party, which has Mugabe’s backing.
Mutinhiri resigned from parliament, citing the military intervention that pressured 94-year-old Mugabe into stepping down in November as his reason for cutting ties with Zanu-PF.
The NPF said it was sympathetic to Mugabe, reports said.
The development was said to have unsettled Zanu-PF, which accused the veteran politician of trying to destabilise the ruling party, and warned he could face the loss of his farms and even his pension benefits.
Members of the party’s youth wing denounced Mugabe during a meeting last week. At the weekend, war veterans went as far as to say their former patron wasn’t a war veteran after all – a criticism that the ruling party used to level against the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“[Mugabe] should just keep quiet and rest peacefully,” Victor Matemadanda of the war veterans’ association told a meeting in central Gokwe, according to the private Newsday.
The NPF, however, said that Mnangagwa and his party should stop attacks on Mugabe.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, the NPF’s spokesperson Jealous Mawarire said: “The NPF calls on the Zanu-PF junta and its associated propaganda mouthpiece to stop their rapid, divisive and unconstitutional attacks on president Mugabe that have gone out of control and are now threatening peace and stability in the country,” Mawarire was quoted as saying.
Mawarire said that the attacks on Mugabe were an indication that Zanu-PF wanted to prevent the veteran politician from exposing that his ouster was unconstitutional.
“Everyone can see that the intimidation, blackmail and demonisation of president Mugabe is designed to prevent him from exposing the fact that the 15 November 2017 military coup was unconstitutional,” Mawarire said.