Zimbabwe’s war veterans leader, Victor Matemadanda, has reportedly claimed that the opposition Movement for democratic Change (MDC) Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa’s political approaches are turning him into a “smaller version of former president Robert Mugabe”.
According to the state-owned Sunday Mail, Matemadanda blasted Chamisa saying he was becoming a younger version of Mugabe as he was trying to bribe the 1970s freedom fighters in “exchange for political support”.
He said the ex-liberation fighters were not for sale and would never be a personal force of any leader as they were not “mercenaries”.
“It is a misguided notion for Chamisa to think that like Mugabe, he will exploit the veterans of the liberation struggle by promising to improve their welfare in such a way they will be considered to be mercenaries. War veterans – Zanla and Zipra – are a revolutionary force who sacrificed their lives not for money or any other thing other than independence and freedom of Zimbabwe,” Matematanda was quoted as saying.
Last month Chamisa promised to take care of the former liberation fighters, saying he would give the former liberation fighters a decent lump sum pension, a report by Voice of America said.
Chamisa said at the time that he would take care of living and deceased war veterans if elected Zimbabwe’s next president in the forthcoming poll.
But Matematenda said: “They (war veterans) are not a mercenary force, because this same notion also comes from our former leader Robert Mugabe, who had thought that veterans of the liberation struggle could be a mercenary force that can be used and dumped and be picked by whoever wants.
“Chamisa is slowly turning himself into little Mugabe; they have a lot of things in common.
“His dictatorial tendencies of using violence and use of undemocratic means to expel party members who oppose him resemble Robert Mugabe”.
Zimbabwe was expected to hold its first election without Mugabe on July 30.
The vote will pit the war veteran backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa against a clutch of opponents that included Chamisa.