FORMER firebrand war veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, says he is still eager to meet with President Robert Mugabe for a tête-à-tête to help re-build bridges between him and ZANU-PF party.
Sibanda, an outspoken leader of the country’s former freedom fighters, fell out of favour with President Mugabe and some of his close lieutenants in October last year after he threatened to lead a war veterans march to State House for what he said was a “crucial meeting”.
Ironically, Sibanda had, a few days before the threatened march, ruffled feathers declaring that war veterans were in support of the former vice president Joice Mujuru who was then fighting for her political survival in ZANU-PF.
Sibanda was also accused of showing disrespect for the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, who had been elected ZANU-PF Women’s League boss, by allegedly snubbing her rallies that were being staged throughout the country during that period.
In an interview last week, Sibanda, however, said he had started opening communication lines with the President’s Office for a “special meeting”.
“I have initiated a meeting with the President. I have used the necessary structures within the government system that will ensure that I meet the President for a very important discussion with him,” he said.
Asked what the agenda for the meeting would be, Sibanda said he wanted to make “corrections to lots of lies” that President Mugabe had been told.
“I cannot fully disclose the agenda now but one thing is for sure, I want to make corrections on a lot of lies, malice, and misconception that has been peddled by enemies of the revolution about me. They have lied a lot to anger the President and make me and others look as if we are agents of destabilisation of the ZANU-PF party,” Sibanda told the Financial Gazette.
He added: “Some of us have dedicated our lives to serve and defend the party from agents of imperialism and their Western allies. I dedicated a good four years and 11 months to fight against those forces. I stayed and worked throughout the country in 2010 to deliver a victory for ZANU-PF. I fought for a violent free election and a legitimate election result and I did achieve just that.”
The former war veterans’ leader said he stood by President Mugabe at a time when most of his subordinates could not.
In 2007, Sibanda led war veterans in a march dubbed the “one million man march” which he said was in solidarity with President Mugabe.
“I have worked and mobilised support for my President. There are lots of things that I did to show my unconditional support to him. I believe that, should we meet, most of these lies will be corrected and we should be able to start working again. I am ready for that meeting and I await his response to my initiatives,” he said.
Commenting on his arrest in November last year on charges of undermining the authority of the President, Sibanda said he would not be deterred by such arrests in his quest to work for ZANU-PF.
“Those are hazards of the occupation of politics that some of us have taken up. They come and go. They build you and make you stronger. I shall not be distracted by these arrests and like I said, I am here to stay and I will not quit in my quest to serve my party and president,” Sibanda said. financial gazette