Mugabe party expels war veterans as dissent grows

Police in Zimbabwe clashing with demonstrators protesting against President Robert Mugabe's handling of the economy. PHOTO | BBC 

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu party has expelled four leaders of the country’s liberation war fighters after they launched a stinging attack on President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The four Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) executives are accused of penning a communique that accused the 92 year-old leader of being a dictator and running down the economy.

ZNLWVA is a Zanu PF affiliate and has been instrumental in mobilising voters for President Robert Mugabe since they led a violent land reform programme in 2000.

The association’s leaders were on Wednesday released by the courts on bail after they were arrested for allegedly insulting the president.

“I can confirm that (ZNLVWVA leaders) Headman Moyo, Victor Matemadanda, Douglas Mahiya and Francis Nhando are out,” Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo was quoted saying on Thursday.

“They are no longer members of Zanu PF.”

Zanu PF also expelled a former Cabinet minister and four others on charges of working with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru on an alleged plot to topple President Mugabe.

Protests

ZNLVWA chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa was expelled from Zanu PF, Cabinet and Parliament early this year after he was accused of undermining the veteran ruler and his wife.

The former fighters are opposed to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s ambitions to succeed Zimbabwe’s long time ruler.

President Mugabe last week vowed to crush dissent at a time Zimbabweans have launched several protests against his failure to revive the economy, leading to massive unemployment.

On Wednesday unemployed graduates had running battles with police in central Harare after they went to the streets in protest against the ruling party’s failure to fulfil its 2013 election promise to create 2.2 million jobs.

Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is estimated to be now hovering at over above 90 per cent.

The job seekers were also joined by ordinary citizens who are opposed to the government’s plans to introduce a local currency linked to the United States dollar.

Zimbabwe abandoned its inflation battered currency in 2009 and has been using a basket of currency since then.

However, a serious cash shortage has forced the government to introduce the so-called bond notes that are set to be injected into the economy in October.

The proposal has been met with stiff resistance from locals who say the currency would take back the country to the Zimbabwe dollar era where millions saw their savings being wiped out by rampant hyper-inflation that peaked at over one billion per cent.

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