By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
07 August 2014
Moses Mzila-Ndlovu is the former minister of national healing and is also a war veteran. He says ZANU PF has ‘poisoned’ the concept of the annual Heroes Day and reduced the war veterans to rogue status.
This year’s Heroes Day falls on Monday next week and President Mugabe is expected to yet again use the occasion to praise those war vets who participated in his violent land grab exercise.
When Mugabe launched his retributive exercise in 2000 many of the former liberation war fighters were at the forefront. Together with hordes of ZANU PF youths they violently forced white commercial farmers off their land. Many were brutally murdered in cold blood alongside hundreds of their workers who were beaten and tortured. Hundreds of thousands of farm workers were displaced.
In an interview with SW Radio Africa the outspoken Mzila said it was ‘sad’ that as a result of ZANU PF policies war veterans were now associated with poverty, ignorance, violence and murder. The former ZIPRA platoon commander said ZANU PF had monopolised the liberation war narrative in a way that has diminished the importance of the Heroes Day and isolated genuine war heroes.
He said: ‘If you listen to the ZANU PF language on the liberation war and on the Heroes Day celebrations it is clear that they are convinced that they have a right dictate to the people of Zimbabwe.’
Mzila added: ‘There is no distinction between the party and government and therefore they decide themselves who should be a hero. That means that a lot of people who should be honored have been isolated. In the ZANU PF world for one to be a hero they must be consistent in abusing people’s rights.’
The outspoken Mzila said this after another notable commentator, Vince Musewe, lamented the war veterans’ s poverty and rogue image and wondered why they had allowed their contribution to be soiled by ‘fake’ and ‘few misguided characters.’
Musewe said it was ‘scandalous’ that many who ‘genuinely believed in a new Zimbabwe’ were living in poverty and are ‘forgotten’ while a few ‘greedy’ ones were living luxuriously. In an open letter to the liberation war fighters, Museve wrote that the Zimbabwe they fought for was ‘not yet here’ and it was both ‘shameful’ and ‘embarrassing’ what the country had become.
Mzila agreed with Musewe saying ZANU PF policies had impoverished many Zimbabweans and dashed many of their hopes and aspirations.