War vets battle Grace Mugabe

19 February 2016 - 03:03 By Nhalo Ndaba, Reuters

Zimbabwean police yesterday fired teargas and used a water cannon to disperse hundreds of war veterans about to march on the ruling party's headquarters to protest against first lady Grace Mugabe. The protest came after the Minister of War Veterans, Christopher Mutsvanga, was accused by Grace Mugabe of harbouring ''successionist'' intentions against her husband.Police moved in with teargas and tankers at the Harare City Sports Centre as running battles ensued.Some war veterans were injured and were ferried to hospital."The feeling among the membership is that the police are violating our constitutional rights," Mutsvanga later told journalists.War veterans have previously mobilised election support for President Robert Mugabe, but they have publicly criticised a Zanu-PF faction led by his wife, dubbed G-40.Though Grace Mugabe has said she has no ambitions to run for president, experts believe she is a leading candidate to succeed her husband.Earlier this week another section of the war veterans declared that it had passed a vote of no confidence in Mutsvanga for disrespecting the Mugabe family.The foiled demonstration came a day after Zanu-PF youths held a press conference calling Grace Mugabe to order.''Don't force us to confront you,'' said the youths, who go by the name Save Zanu-PF.The veterans who fought in the war that led to independence from Britain in 1980 have been angered by what they call disrespectful comments by Grace Mugabe and her G-40 allies.The G-40 has attempted to fire some leaders in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.In turn, the association has affirmed support for its leaders and branded the G-40 group "counter-revolutionaries".The G-40 group accuses veterans of trying to force Mugabe to retire in favour of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.Mnangagwa, like Mugabe, is a veteran.Grace Mugabe did not fight in the independence war.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.