HARARE – Zimbabwe’s ruling party and its allies have warned former president Robert Mugabe not to “rock the boat”, a day after he was reported to have met with the country’s newest opposition leader.
Mugabe has been accused of backing a new party called the National Patriotic Front led by former cabinet minister Ambrose Mutinhiri who visited Mugabe at his home on Sunday.
“To us, it’s a bunch of failures trying to come back into politics,” Zanu-PF youth leader Pupurai Togarepi told the private Daily News.
Mutinhiri, an ex-soldier and war veteran who is said to be related to Mugabe, quit the ruling Zanu-PF last week over his objection to last year’s military takeover that unseated Mugabe.
Togarepi said any attempt by Mugabe to destabilise his former party would be met with a “storm”.
‘We will not be soft’
“If he (Mugabe) decides to rock the boat and then his actions affect the stability of the party… he should be ready for the storm to come… we will not be soft with him,” Togarepi said.
A top official of the war veterans’ association accused the 94-year-old Mugabe of being “misguided”.
“Remember he walked away when he did not deserve to walk away a free man,” said Victor Matemadanda, in reference to the impeachment by parliament that Mugabe narrowly escaped on November 21 by handing in his resignation.
“He was supposed to be sentenced to prison but the people of Zimbabwe forgave him but now we are seeing that he does not have a culture of appreciation,” he added.
‘We’ll take his farms’
War veterans were at one time among Mugabe’s most ardent supporters, heeding his call to invade white-owned farms to drive his land reform programme launched 18 years ago.
Matemadanda claimed the Mugabe family had amassed 14 farms and that these could be seized as punishment for any disloyalty.
“He is the person who brought the policy – one family one farm – yet he has over 14 farms and he must lose those, and we are ready to take them as war veterans,” said Matemadanda.