War veterans leader Victor Matemadanda who was one of those who strongly opposed former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace in their final years in power says Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa cannot buy war veterans because they are 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,” Matemadanda told the Sunday Mail in response to a statement by Chamisa that he would bring war veterans to the table so that they can have their share of the economy once he is elected.
“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.
“They 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,” he said.
Chamisa has already been endorsed by one of the leading commanders of ZIPRA Dumiso Dabengwa who entered into a pact with the MDC leader in exchange for some seats under the proportional representation system.
Dabengwa also said Chamisa had promised him that their candidates would not compete for seats.
Matemadanda said: “What should be understood from the onset is that war veterans went to war not to be someone’s soldiers, but it was from the fact that they were oppressed, which caused them to go to the liberation struggle, purely to liberate Zimbabwe.
“Everything else would then come after having liberated Zimbabwe, and this we achieved in 1980…
“We did not fight the bourgeoisie type of rule in order to establish another imperialistic administration, so ideologically there is no war veteran in his or her right sense who can go to bed with MDC because the ideologies are a world apart.
“. . . We are not a mercenary force, we have not and we will never have a political link with MDC because what we fought for and the ideology we have and the conviction that caused us to go to war can never mix with imperialism.
“So, we are people living in different hemispheres. There is nothing that links us up with MDC, unless we choose to be mercenaries, which I doubt there are war veterans with that mercenary mentality.”