THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday staged a come-back, days after he was accused of divisiveness and selfishness, with some provincial executives pushing for his recall.
Mutsvangwa’s key national executives have hit back, accusing his detractors of trying to destabilise the ex-liberation fighters.
Only Mashonaland East and West have backed the move to recall Mutsvangwa, but the majority of the ZNLWVA national leadership has vowed to block his ouster, describing the attempts as a calculated move to destabilise both Zanu PF and the association.
The association’s leadership accused ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda of plotting to usurp the leadership from Mutsvangwa. But Matemadanda last night dismissed allegations.
“In any case, we are going for elections next year and I don’t intend to stand as chairman. I am content with being a secretary-general. In fact, being a secretary-general is more powerful than being a chairman. These allegations are madness,” he said.
The most senior war veteran in Mashonaland West province, Runesu Geza, popularly known as “Bombshell”, warned former freedom fighters against being used to remove Mutsvangwa.
“Mutsvangwa fought against former President Robert Mugabe, now he is gone, they are fighting him (Mutsvangwa). Mutsvangwa stands for the interests of war veterans and is not corrupt. He is not going anywhere. We want to see who is influencing these war vets to work against the chairman.”
“In Mashonaland Central, there was a meeting yesterday (Thursday) and the comrades were very bitter that at a time when our chairman is bed-ridden, people are taking the opportunity to lambast him, instead of consoling him and wishing him a speedy recovery,” a provincial executive member who requested anonymity said.
“There is a story behind that and people might have taken this as a fissure within the association but it is a serious fight between these two.”
ZNLWVA national commissar Francis Nhando was of the view that Mutsvangwa was being fought for trying to improve the welfare of former freedom fighters.
“On the economic front, we have Mutsvangwa fighting right now against a budget that has nothing for war vets. What is lacking in this country’s economic life is what I have always referred as patriotic capital,” Nhando said.
“As long as we have no capital in the hands of nationals, we have no way we can attract capital with national interests from anywhere in the world. That fight put him on the collision path against such elements in the past regime when he tried to establish that capital as minister. Today, his close relationship with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in trying to play his role against elements of the sort could be attracting his troubles. War vets have no business fighting Mutsvangwa, who together with everyone, fought for the freedom of expression.”
Manicaland provincial leader Gift Kagweda said they were fully behind Mutsvangwa.
“Who is saying Mutsvangwa must go? That resolution from Mashonaland West does not affect us. We are a province on our own and we constitute the national leadership,” Kagweda said.
“As Manicaland, we are still waiting to be co-ordinated and then deliberate on that. What I want you to be very clear with is that we respect the national leadership which respects our President Emmerson Mnangagwa. If there are people who don’t respect him, then we are not part and parcel of them.
Our chairman is Mutsvangwa until we sit and resolve the matter at the national level.”
Other provinces said the matter did not arise in the first place and they would not be swayed to go against Mutsvangwa.
They said there was a calculated move to create fissures within the association.
Bulawayo war veterans chairperson Cephas Ncube said the province had nothing to do with the anti-Mutsvangwa plot.
“Those who are saying that, where are they getting that instruction? As Bulawayo, we haven’t deliberated on that,” Ncube said.
“In my province, we haven’t talked about this. On Wednesday, we had a meeting with the business community and not the issues you are talking about. I don’t think I can call an emergency meeting regarding the issues you are referring to. Above that, Mutsvangwa is the national chairman and as a provincial chairman, I don’t have any power to talk about that.”
He referred further questions to the association’s national deputy chair Headmen Moyo, who, however, said he was not able to respond as he was driving.