It never rains but pours for Obert Mpofu, the Zanu PF secretary for administration who is being frustrated by a group of former liberation war fighters who want him out.
The former Home Affairs minister is topping the list of under-fire Zanu PF functionaries that have received a hostile reception at the party headquarters in Harare where they were deployed after being thrown out of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet in September.
An affiliate of the ruling party, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has been at the forefront of pushing for Mpofu’s ouster, along with his former Cabinet colleagues who were given full time jobs at the party’s head office.
Mnangagwa assigned 11 top officials to work full time at the party headquarters, among them Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, finance secretary Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, foreign affairs secretary Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, youth league deputy chairperson Lewis Matutu, Chris Mushohwe and Mpofu.
A section of ZNLWVA has been holding meetings in Harare, Bulawayo and Mazowe to ratchet up pressure on these party heavyweights to vacate their offices, alleging they were undermining Mnangagwa and that they were corrupt.
Last month, the group petitioned Mnangagwa and party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, alleging the entire commissariat department needed a complete overhaul after presiding over chaotic party primary polls in May this year and sabotaging the Zanu PF leader in the presidential poll.
Mnangagwa narrowly won the July 30 poll to avoid a run-off, beating his closest rival — Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance.
A few weeks after sending through their petition, the war veterans who were led by ZNLWVA’s Mazowe district chairperson, Efanos Mudzimunyi, besieged the Zanu PF headquarters, baying for the officials’ blood.
Mpofu dismissed the former liberation war fighters yesterday as nothing but renegades.
“Why do you listen to those war veterans? I have never met them anywhere; that is nonsense. I don’t just meet people, and you should also know that my office was never besieged by anyone,” he told the Daily News.
“War veterans are just an affiliate of Zanu PF. The little I know about some of them is that they were in the Rhodesian army. But yes, on Monday I met a group of war veterans and we had a very amicable meeting at the head office. The war veterans were very excited, they apologised for what they did,” he added.
Top ZNLWVA leaders were not keen on commenting on the latest development, with the association’s secretary-general Victor Matemadanda referring questions to the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, whose personal assistant repeatedly claimed he was in meetings.
ZNLWVA chairperson Chris Mutsvangwa could only say; “I am convalescing”, meaning he is recovering from an illness.
On Sunday, the disgruntled war veterans who had previously besieged the Zanu PF headquarters, held a meeting in Mazowe where they vowed to approach Mnangagwa once he returns from Guinea with a list of top party officials whom they claim are hell-bent on sabotaging his reign.
Mnangagwa was in Guinea, at the invitation of President Alpha Conde.
“At the (Mazowe) meeting, we were saying that people like Mpofu should take a rest,” said the spokesperson of the faction, Philemon Mutongi — a ZNLWVA member from Mashonaland East Province.
He said it was made clear to Mahiya, who attended the Mazowe meeting, that there was no going back on their quest to have the officials fired, and that ZNLWVA spokesperson should pass the message to the superiors.
“Those people who were named will not go to the (Zanu PF) conference; these are the people who are behind the price hikes,” he added.
He confirmed that there was another meeting held in Bulawayo, attended by four representatives from Mashonaland East, Harare, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South.
“On Monday, these war veterans had another meeting in Harare … Our position is simple, we just want those who should go to go, we want to give the new dispensation a chance, free of corrupt elements. The new president should have new people around him,” said Mutongi.