Harare - A leaked confidential ministerial document has revealed that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 92, might be in trouble after the country's former freedom fighters declared that they no longer want him to lead the southern African country.
The war veterans, who called Mugabe "a genocidal dictator", issued a damning communique sometime in 2016, declaring that they would not support Mugabe's candidature in the 2018 national elections. The former freedom fighters argued that the veteran leader’s candidacy was going to be a hard-sell because of his advanced age.
The war veterans, however, disowned the communique when they were arrested and arraigned before a Harare magistrate, facing charges of undermining Mugabe's authority.
The former freedom fighters have also openly declared their support to a faction within the ruling Zanu-PF party led by Mugabe's deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Another faction calling itself Generation 40 is backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her nonagenarian husband.
'National security threat'
The leaked report, directed to the veteran leader and signed by defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and his war veterans counterpart Tshinga Dube, a copy of which is in News24's possession, alleged that Mugabe's fallout with leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association was posing a "national security threat" to the country.
"The problems affecting war veterans in their totality and complexity are beginning to define a national security threat, with unpleasant connotations as the 2018 elections approach," reads part of the report.
Mugabe, who is on holiday in the Far East with his entire family, is always surrounded by hordes of security aides.
The leaked document also alleged that some of the problems affecting war veterans were being sponsored by unnamed senior officials within Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
The ministerial committee tasked to investigate Mugabe's tiff with war veterans recommended the nonagenarian to move with speed to deal with the issue before it goes "out of hand".
"This plea solemnly seeks to invoke Your Excellency's tried and tested statesmanship, your esteemed wisdom and prudence so that you may consider intervening both in the party and government in order to restore matters concerning war veterans before they go too far out of hand," the document stated.
Efforts to get a comment from war veterans leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa were fruitless. Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba's mobile phone went unanswered.
However, the local Newsday newspaper reported recently that the former freedom fighters would meet soon to choose Mugabe's successor. At the same time, NewZimbabwe.com quoted unnamed sources saying war veterans were considering an unidentified Zimbabwean businessman to challenge Mugabe in the 2018 polls.
This comes at a time when opposition parties are mulling forming a coalition and fielding a single presidential candidate that would face off with Mugabe in the forthcoming elections.