Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters gathered to celebrate his 92nd birthday in Masvingo on 27 February 2016. Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

President Robert Mugabe and war veterans will finally meet in Zimbabwe's capital Harare on 7 April 2016, just weeks after the veterans criticised the leader for snubbing them after the cancellation of a series of meetings to iron out their differences.

Earlier in March, Zimbabwe's liberators expressed anger when Mugabe decided to fly out of the country for Singapore en route to India for the World Culture Festival, leaving the ex-freedom fighters stranded after promising to meet them. These will include their statutory welfare benefits such as monthly pensions, school fees, medical support, funeral cover and business loans.

At the time, Victor Matemadanda, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), said: "It is really sad that as war veterans, we are going through this. We feel someone is not taking our issues seriously as an association. We are engaging the [War Veterans] minister [Tshinga Dube] to ensure that we meet and find a way forward on the extraordinary meeting because we feel a lot is happening in the [ruling] party [Zanu PF] that needs our attention, but we now don't know what is really happening".

War veterans in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe war veterans and war collaborators chant slogans during a demonstration in Bulawayo on 11 October 2007 in support of President Mugabe's nomination as the sole candidate in the 2008 general elections. Emmanuel Chitate/Reuters

War veterans meeting: 'Foundation of the nation'

On 23 March, however, Zimbabwe's Secretary for War Veterans in the Politburo, Sydney Sekeramayi, announced the long overdue meeting would take place on 7 April, and said the talks would cement the foundation of the nation, according to local media.

"The meeting will chart the way forward as we build the country because the detractors are working overtime to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle," Sekeramayi said during the war veterans caucus meeting in Harare.

Mugabe, who is also patron of the ZNLWVA, described the meeting with the five warring factions within the ex-freedom fighters as a frank engagement following weeks of turbulence, which threatens to split the Zanu PF.

The malaise comes during a bitter political battle within Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, which has seen two rival factions, called the G40 and Team Lacoste, fight for control of the party. The First Lady Grace Mugabe leads the G40, which is opposed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa's faction Team Lacoste, which is backed by war veterans.

Over the weekend, local newspaper News Day reported that war veterans passed a vote of no-confidence on Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and seven other top Zanu-PF officials but Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene claimed Mugabe was the real target and the former freedom fighters' resolution was designed to set the stage for Mugabe's ouster.

War veterans in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean war veterans sing revolutionary songs at a meeting at the ruling Zanu-PF. Reuters