Members of the ZPRA Veterans Association say they do not read much into the recent visit to some of its members by First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa pointing out most of its cadres have been deliberately excluded from government structures since independence.
Mnangagwa recently made a surprise visit to ZPRA stalwarts, David ‘Sharpshoot’ Moyo, Aaron Ndlovu and Jane Ngwenya.
She also visited Zodwa Dabengwa, the widow of former ZAPU leader, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa and former President Canaan Banana’s widow, Janet.
But the ZPRA veterans were not amused with her trip, accusing her of wanting to capitalise on the destitution of the former liberators.
“Her visit was to try and win some few hearts and minds, to make a show as if they are considerate. Theirs was an attempt to make inroads and so that they regarded as people who care,” said Baster Willie Magwizi, secretary general of ZPRA veterans.
Magwizi noted that the timing of the first lady visit was off the mark, as ZPRA cadres were relegated into second class citizens by the system she was representing.
“We do not justify their coming down here as a sign of contrition, we even then do not justify their visit a sign of compassion but we think they are looking for ways to trying buy-in into the old guard who is suffering and did not care about before,” he quipped.
The secretary-general claimed the state was doing an injustice to itself by neglecting ZPRA cadres.
“They (Zanu) know they abandoned the ZPRA veterans, for instance, Sharp Shoot. They let veterans like him live pauperised lives yet they knew these were the people who initiated the struggle but let them wallow in abject poverty. Now they are trying to buy people one by one.
“In fact why didn’t they consult the whole of ZPRA? Now they are selecting individuals. The reason for targeting individuals is because they want to have a buy-in of a particular individual so their influence can be propagated through those individuals and we think that is unfair,” he said.
Regarding the progress on retaining back their seized war records, Magwizi said they had not moved an inch.
“Zanu will not want to release those documents knowing that they contain ZPRA’s history, which they want to distort. Instead of putting the records in the national archives, if they were to be genuine, they must have stored them somewhere or burnt them,” he lamented.
Magwizi claimed Zanu PF was recreating its own history by using their own information.
“We believe what they are recreating now is a stolen history. It is now Zanu who shot down a helicopter and even bombing the petrol station was done by them as if ZPRA has never participated in the liberation struggle.”
He added that despite efforts to conceal the truth, it would find ways to emerge.
“The truth was exposed by Umkhonto WeSizwe (during the burial of Dr Dabengwa, as narrated by Umkhonto WeSizwe veterans who had come to pay their last respects). We heard ZPRA has been in alliance with Umkhonto WeSizwe for ages, and we are still in contact. We have not abandoned our fraternal relationships but Zanu doesn’t want us to have that relationship, which is why they are coming deviously and nicodemously by night trying to extract a few individuals to coax them,” Magwizi quipped.