WAR Veterans deputy minister Victor Matemadanda has berated some former fighters who challenged his liberation war credentials, saying he cannot be vetted in the streets.
Matemadanda was reacting to claims that he was a fake war veteran and mere taxi driver during the liberation struggle. The allegations were made by war veterans under the banner of War Veterans Welfare Committee led by Fredrick Ngombe.
Ngombe’s group stormed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office on Tuesday where they were demanding he fulfills the pledge by his predecessor, Robert Mugabe to pay them gratuities and $2 000 monthly salaries that would chew in excess of $13,5 billion.
But Matemadanda yesterday accused the group of being sponsored to destabilise Mnangagwa by making absurd demands.
“I cannot be vetted in the street,” Matemadanda who is also the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, said.
“If I am not a war veteran, the association has a procedure of vetting its members, not a few rogue people demonstrating in the street. I was never imposed on the war veterans. I was voted for in Masvingo and before I became secretary general, I was in the war veterans’ commissariat under the leadership of Jabulani Sibanda (former ZNLWVA leader). So all the years, they were selecting someone who is not a war veteran?”
Last year, at the height of the factional wars between Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste and the vanquished G40 faction, former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo claimed that Matemadanda was a taxi driver during the liberation struggle and was not a war veteran.
But Matemadanda said he was surprised at being targeted by the group.
“I am a target from three fronts. These are rouge war veterans being paid by a retired Central Intelligence operative who was fronting Grace Mugabe (former First Lady,” he said.
“They are also financed by a war veteran who is bitter that I refused to protect him from his rape case when he wanted to be an MP. The rapist pours in a lot of money for anything against Matemadanda. I have text messages when he was asking for protection and the time will come for me to let the cat out of the bag.”
He added: “Others are also bitter that I refuse to protect their economic interests. Why they want me to protect things I don’t know about. Now they lie that I am not representing their interest, but no one ever came to my office telling me about those interests. Yes, war veterans have welfare issues, but this should not be at the expense of the people. Where can government get the $2 000 per month when it is struggling to buy medicines, repair roads, among other issues?”
Matemadanda said his other problem was his refusal to back calls against command agriculture as a form as State capture as what other war veterans have been pushing for. He said the ambitious agricultural programme was funded by private players and guaranteed by government because of its ability to ensure food security.
Matemadanda recently clashed with the ZNLWVA chairperson, Chris Mutsvangwa after the latter accused him of being bankrolled by fuel mogul Kudakwashe Tagwirei to lead an onslaught against the former Norton legislator after he sought to break the Sakunda boss’ monopoly in the fuel industry.