Members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) involved in a plot to topple Robert Mugabe told NewsDay that they did not disclose the plan to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for strategic reasons. However, Zipra Veterans Association (Zipra VA) secretary-general, Petros Sibanda confirmed that their principal, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, was aware of the plan from the start.
Victor Matemadanda said that Mnangagwa was not involved because they were not yet sure if he would be the candidate to lead the Patriotic Front (PF). Said Matemadanda:
He (Mnangagwa) was not aware and, like I said, we did not come to a clear conclusion that he would be candidate. We never made any indication that we were going to form a party, but the idea was to force Mugabe to leave power and allow the party (Zanu PF) to reform or be led by someone else. You must also remember that Mnangagwa was adamant that he would never leave Zanu PF or contest Mugabe. So for us the catch was to make sure Mugabe relinquishes power, but what I do not know up to now is if this would have happened. Mugabe then seemed so determined to stay in power at any cost, but we were preparing even for a legal battle to get the name of the party and go into elections with a different candidate than him.
ZNLWVA leader Christopher Mutsvangwa confirmed that Mnangagwa was not made aware of the plan. He also said that they organised the booing in Bulawayo. Sibanda said that Mutsvangwa was supposed to approach Mnangagwa and sell the idea, but the assignment was taken up by Matemadanda. He said that he assumed Mnangagwa had been told of the plan the moment Matemadanda and others began coming to Bulawayo for talks.