FORMER war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda (JS) was instrumental in President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in 2013 but now says the 92-year-old has become a burden for Zimbabweans.
Last week he told our reporter Richard Chidza (RC) why he has had a change of heart. Below are excerpts of the interview.
RC: You were expelled from Zanu PF in 2014 for allegedly supporting former vice-president Joice Mujuru. Mujuru has now formed Zimbabwe People First, but you have not come out to support her, where do you stand?
JS: I am a freedom fighter and a revolutionary. The struggle I belong to was inherent when the colonialists took our country and treated us as sub-humans.
Our forefathers were defeated and our fathers jailed. I joined the struggle to free our country.
Freedom meant independence, that we become a free nation to determine our own destiny and that we have freedom to choose our leaders.
Not to be governed by an individual but that the nation governs itself with power residing with the people as the one centre.
We also fought that national resources benefit all people and develop our country.
All these things were not guaranteed by the name of a party or because someone belonged to this or that party but by satisfying the needs of the people.
Unfortunately, these things are nowhere to be found in Zanu PF.
The party’s pronouncements are in vain; instead of protecting the people, the party has groomed and protected counter-revolutionaries.
Zanu PF has organised genocide against unarmed civilians who looked up to their government for protection.
The national army that was set up to protect the people has been used as an instrument to destroy the very people it is supposed to protect without mercy, including pregnant women and children.
RC: There are reports you were offered the post of War Veterans minister, is there any truth in that?
JS: I do not really want to talk much about that. It is not necessary, maybe some other time. I have moved from Zanu PF.
The revolution does not reside with Zanu PF because if you look back, Mbuya Nehanda and King Lobengula did not have a political party but they tenaciously fought for the freedom of their people from oppression.
From the 1950s, parties were formed and banned but successor parties came along to take their place. It is in this context that Zimbabwe People First was formed.
We moved on from Zanu PF that does not represent the aspirations of the people anymore.
We are with the people and this party was formed on the basis that political parties in Zimbabwe have always been formed to protect the interests of the people and to fight injustices beyond colonialism and also to guard against oppression.
RC: You recently addressed the same meeting with war veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa, is there scope of you two working together?
JS: It was the right thing to do. We need to teach our people that we should never hold grudges but stand ready to work together for the good of our country.
Mutsvangwa recently went to court against Mandi Chimene, I could do the same against him because his is also an illegal executive.
He was not elected by war veterans but they are at loggerheads with Chimene.
They both were not elected by congress because major general Engelbert Rugeje announced he had suspended the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association constitution.
He had no power to do that and even Mugabe as patron does not have that power.
We kept quiet not because we were scared, but because we were meek in the hope that they would see reason, but now like all wrong things, they are falling apart.
RC: Mugabe has called for a meeting of war veterans on April 7, have you been invited and will you attend?
JS: If invited, we will attend, but I am not sure if he will invite us. It seems to us he has invited only Zanu PF war veterans.
If he was serious about salvaging the revolution, he would invite every war veteran and we would have told him where he has gone wrong.
However, Zanu PF has become some kindergarten playground.
Nobody takes them seriously anymore. Mugabe will not invite us because he has already accepted illegal things.
He accepted the illegal executive presented to him by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga when the association is a voluntary organisation to do with social welfare.
Some of the people in the Mutsvangwa executive while being war veterans were not members of our association.
RC: In your view, what is the root cause of the problems in Zanu PF today?
JS: It is corruption and greed. All seemed well before the discovery of diamonds.
These people worked together for decades without any problems but the discovery of diamonds soured relations.
They are corrupt to the marrow and a change of government which is eminent will expose even more rot.
Mugabe is the last Zanu PF leader. He is fighting a losing battle and State House has turned into a Furher’s bunker as used by Hitler while trying to command a dying force in early 1945.
For revolutionaries it is time to walk away; the people have lost faith in Zanu PF.
RC: Do you think First Lady Grace Mugabe is part of the problems?
JS: I had great respect for that woman but now it seems the majority of our people have a low opinion of her.
They have a reason to feel that way because they make comparisons with the late First Lady Sally.
Sally loved Mugabe but loved Zimbabwe more. She remains one of our greatest heroines.
Imagine she left an independent State in Ghana to join a man with no country in the bush to fight a war for freedom.
Mugabe gave us Sally as First Lady and could not have given us another First Lady.
Grace then to us becomes a second First Lady. History will record that this woman destroyed the party that catapulted her husband to the presidency.
She was used by the weevils faction in Zanu PF as they sought to strengthen themselves against another one, then led by Joice Mujuru.
They invited her, encouraged her, coaxed her and urged her to attack the vice-president of the country [Mujuru].
Some people thought it was the right thing to do but now she has gone overboard and they cannot stop her. Grace has been used as an instrument to destroy Zanu PF.