War veterans’ split threatens Zanu PF unity: Who will emerge victorious?

Cde Chris Mutsvangwa

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), an affiliate of the ruling ZANU PF party, has experienced a significant split with the emergence of a splinter group challenging the leadership of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs Minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa. The division within the war veterans’ organization has exposed underlying factionalism within ZANU PF, with each group reportedly garnering support from different factions within the party.

Confirming the emergence of the splinter group during a press conference on Friday, Mutsvangwa referred to them as “Johnny-come-lately” and accused them of attempting to snatch the ZNLWVA’s name. He asserted that he remains the chairperson of the organization and emphasized that a congress will soon be held to elect a new leadership.

“We are seeing some people who are impostors saying they are from the ZNLWVA,” Mutsvangwa stated. “ZANU PF is our DNA as war veterans, and we want to thank President Emmerson Mnangagwa for restoring our ministry.”

In a press statement released by the splinter group, they claimed that Mutsvangwa’s tenure had expired and introduced Andrease Ethan Mathibela as their leader, whom they fully support.

“It is important to note that Ambassador Mutsvangwa ceased to be chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) on November 5, 2019, as his first five-year tenure had come to an end,” the statement read. “Therefore, any statements or actions taken by him after that date are not representative of the official position of ZNLWVA.”

The splinter group further highlighted that a new executive, led by Andrease Ethan Mathibela, was elected during an extraordinary congress held on October 7, 2023. They emphasized that the new executive is now responsible for leading the ZNLWVA and making decisions on behalf of the association. The splinter group urged members and stakeholders to disregard Mutsvangwa’s statements, asserting that they hold no legal effect.

Responding to the situation, ZANU PF’s Information Director, Farai Marapira, dismissed allegations of divisions among the war veterans and reaffirmed their affiliation with the party. He downplayed the significance of the splinter group, referring to them as a small faction led by a former Rhodesian soldier who has not aligned with the party’s principles.

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