THE Chris Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has dumped President Robert Mugabe as its patron after amending its constitution to replace a patron with a non-executive president.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/KENNETH NYANGANI
In an interview after their meeting in Masvingo yesterday which was attended by representatives from district, provincial and national level, the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said they would now work to fill the position of the non-executive president.
War veterans have had a love-hate relationship with Mugabe that resulted in Zanu PF expelling almost all the top leaders from the party, including Mutsvangwa.
Mahiya, secretary general Victor Matemadanda and vice-chair Headman Moyo were also recently hauled before the courts accused of insulting Mugabe after they allegedly released a damning communiqué calling on him to quit.
Mahiya said they would now pursue opportunities to secure war veterans’ social, economic and political improvement and will seek to affiliate with regional war veterans’ bodies.
“The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association shall appoint a ceremonial president without executive powers,” he said, adding if Mugabe is chosen as the president, then he would be accepted but if he falls by the wayside someone else would lead the former fighters.
“The association shall align itself with some articles to the national Constitution of Zimbabwe in order to safeguard the ethos, ideals and values of the people of Zimbabwe and that we shall become a national apparatus.
Membership shall be based on the description as stated in the War Veterans Act of Zimbabwe.”
Mahiya added they would also be fielding their candidates during elections if they feel they cannot back some contestants.
“The association shall support a political candidate who is not opposed to the aspirations of the revolution and that person must have the support of the masses,” he said.
“In the event that a candidate proves to be unsuitable, the war veterans will field a candidate from its membership. We will support a candidate who supports the revolution.”
Meanwhile, there was drama in Mutare when War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube was heckled by rowdy former freedom fighters who accused him of addressing trivial issues that were not of concern to their welfare.
Tempers flared when Dube told a meeting also attended by Defence minister and Zanu PF secretary for war veterans Sydney Sekeramayi, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene and permanent secretary in the ministry of War Veterans, Walter Tapfumaneyi that Mugabe had bought 13 vehicles for war veterans.
Dube’s remarks were met by disapproval from war veterans who said ,“they do not eat vehicles” and told him to sit down, embarrassing the minister in the presence of his wife who also attended the meeting.
“We don’t eat cars minister. There are issues that need to be resolved, not the issue of cars,’’ shouted one war veteran.
However, Dube, who had a hard time addressing the gathering, was defiant throughout the address.
“’If you are not happy with what l am saying hard luck, but this is what l am saying. Do you want me to sit down? But l am not going to sit down,’’ he said.
Dube urged the war veterans to be united to make it easier for government to assist them, while also pleading with them to “pardon” each other.
Chimene, who is a leading one of the war veterans faction, said ex-freedom fighters in Manicaland did not need vehicles, but were concerned about their health and school fees for their children, among a host of other challenges they were facing.