War veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa has said all the country’s former liberators were equals, adding that nothing gave their patron President Robert Mugabe any superior position than the rest.
Addressing a media briefing on Monday, Mutsvangwa also launched a scathing attack on Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo whom he dismissed as a beneficiary of Mugabe’s patronage system.
The former Zimbabwe ambassador to China was responding to media claims by Moyo that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sponsoring a vigorous ploy to succeed Mugabe.
The Mutsvangwa led war veterans camp is widely viewed to be rooting for a Mnangagwa presidency.
“Yes we respect Cde Mugabe as a revolutionary the same way we revere Cde Fidel Castro (former Cuban president) but we are revolutionaries and in a revolution, we are all equals,” Mutsvangwa said.
“There are no superior revolutionaries or inferior revolutionaries. We are all equals.
“Jonathan does not belong to that stable of equals which are called revolutionaries. He belongs to the stables of beneficiaries of patronage. We are not beneficiaries of patronage from anybody.”
Mutsvangwa, described as too stubborn by President Mugabe past few weeks, said it was in fact the war veterans who had sold Mugabe’s name to the masses so he could land his lofty position.
“Because we were the founding army, when the struggle needed new leadership, we sat and made sure that president Mugabe becomes the new commander of the army,” Mutsvangwa said.
“We are the ones who sold the name of President Mugabe to the masses. That is why he stands head and shoulders above all the other nationalist leaders. It is not from the founding fathers. No, it is from Zipra, it is from Zanla forces; that is how President Mugabe earned the kudos he has today.”
He added: “So it is the army which made the leadership and President Mugabe was a beneficiary of the decisions of the liberation army.”
War veterans, he said, were the masters of the succession issue in the country and not Moyo and his G40 faction.
“We are masters of the succession plan. We know it so well so we have no lesson to learn from a Jonathan who deserted the war and remember when he deserted that war it means there was a succession to replace what he was doing. Hs role at Mgagao had to be replaced.
“That was another succession we carried out as he never came back. The experts at succession are the war veterans, we know this game,” he said.
Mutsvangwa said Moyo thought that revolutionary and patriotic credentials could be won by induction like a magnet.
“Jonathan, by staying next to the revolutionaries, great revolutionaries who fought for this country at cabinet and in the politburo and at state house he suddenly thinks he will be magnetised and is a revolutionary. No, he is not. It doesn’t matter what credentials he tries to claim, he has no pedigree, he ran away from the war,” said the former Norton legislator.
Mutsvangwa said Mnangagwa was a tried and tested revolutionary who had sacrificed a lot for the country.
“The Mnangagwas helped create the army which became Zanla forces and spent 10 months in jail on death roll. This is pedigree. This is tried and tested by having everyday to put your life in danger to build an institution which becomes the new nation of Zimbabwe. Jonathan is missing at every stage of the struggle. He has no right to speak about succession.”