By Robert Tapfumaneyi
WAR veterans hit out at former President Robert Mugabe and said the former Zanu PF leader should not be taken seriously as he is now “behaving like a child” due to advanced age.
Mugabe, who was toppled by a military coup in 2017, turned 95 last week and used the occasion of a birthday party organised by his family to attack successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The veteran leader reportedly condemned the use of lethal force by the government against civilians demonstrating against fuel prices increases last month.
Responding, war veterans spokesman Douglas Mahiya said age was taking its toll on the former Zanu PF leader.
“From the look of things, age is taking its toll on him and he now behaves like a child. Let him enjoy his retirement and his folktales must not be taken seriously,” said Mahiya in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“What I urge Zimbabweans to do is to forgive Mugabe. Whatever he says now, we have to look at various issues, from his days in power, retirement and age.”
Addressing guests at his birthday bash, Mugabe reportedly said; “I did not create the army to kill people, the army does not lead politics.
“Now we hear there are countless graves of people killed by the army; who is going to unearth or exhume those bodies?
“What you are doing (killing people) is going to catch up with you very soon; just tomorrow, it would have caught up with you.”
Deputy information minister Energy Mutodi said the human rights situation was far worse during Mugabe’s 37 years in power.
“We have noted some words of repentance by former president Mugabe saying army must protect not kill,” said Mutodi on Twitter.
“True that a few lost lives in running battles with the police, but that cannot compare with Gukurahundi or 2008 violence when he was at the helm.”
Mahiya added that Mugabe should be uniting rather than dividing Zimbabweans.
“As a former president and an African statesman, his comments should be uniting citizens of this country who over the years may have been divided by polarised politics,” said the war veterans spokesman.
“He (Mugabe) has been at the helm and he knows what’s good and what’s bad for the nation, but surprisingly he continues to sow seeds of division instead of healing the nation.
“He must be giving advice to his predecessor rather than just attacking him from hearsay statements.”