Defence and War Veterans minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has confirmed that the ugly Zanu-PF factional and succession wars – which led to the stunning ouster from power of former president Robert Mugabe in a popular military coup in November 2017 – have returned to haunt the former liberation movement.
This comes as other well-placed sources also told the Daily News yesterday that Zanu-PF’s factionalism, which had mostly bubbled under the surface since President Emmerson Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe two years ago, had now broken into the open within the party’s structures.
“It is true that there are chefs (senior party officials) who are angling for Mnangagwa’s and one of his two deputies’ jobs. Very surprisingly to many of us, some of these ambitious chefs are from the president’s Midlands Province.
“The fighting for top party positions has become so obvious and problematic that even the presidium, and now the national chairperson, has noticed it as well, as it is incapacitating the difficult job of the party and government to rebuild the country’s economy.
“So when you hear Mnangagwa, (Deputy President Constantino) Chiwenga and now the chairperson publicly warning ambitious party members against what they are doing, you must know that it is not by coincidence,” one of the sources said.
Speaking at the weekend, Muchinguri-Kashiri – who is also Zanu-PF’s national chairperson – warned her fellow party members that there were “no vacancies” for Mnangagwa’s and his deputies’ jobs and elements covertly jostling for the top positions must stand guided.
She made the remarks yesterday while addressing the Manicaland War Veterans inter-district conference at Bezel Bridge in Zimunya-Marange.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said the era of the old dispensation which was characterised by divisions, slandering of war veterans, senior Government officials and unbridled ambition for the Presidency, was over.
“For 37 years we were in the old dispensation and you know how it ended. Some elements in the old dispensation had captured the State and we were being insulted and slandered. War veterans were mistreated and abused publicly but we united with our security sectors and embarked on Operation Restore Legacy and in the process restored our dignity that had been stolen,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said history was repeating itself with some elements angling for the Vice Presidency and the Presidency as if the positions were vacant.
“We still have ambitious individuals that are angling for posts in the Presidium. Be warned. It is not that easy. We should lead by example as war veterans and check the direction that the nation is taking,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She called for selflessness.
“We must not think about ourselves but the majority of Zimbabweans. Some people want the Presidency. There is no vacancy, there is no vacancy, there is no vacancy. Make sure you are playing your role where you are. We do not want divisions,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said President Mnangagwa was preaching unity all the time.
“The President is saying unity, unity, unity, less politics. Let us build the future of our children. Let us build our country. This is what the President is saying,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“We do not want people that push us from the way we are being shown by President Mnangagwa. During Operation Restore Legacy, it’s you war veterans that stood strong and also went for the march to restore the legacy we had lost. New dispensation has restored our dignity as war veterans.”
Muchinguri-Kashiri said President Mnangagwa remembers the journey he walked with war veterans and ex-detainees and will not forget them.
Government, she said, was working on ensuring issues to do with the welfare of war veterans and affiliate organisations were addressed.
“You deserve better,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said the national Constitution recognises the role played by war veterans and dignifies them yet some people were looking down upon them.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said respect for war veterans must start in the party.
“You sacrificed for everybody. Some people forget the past because they are now comfortable. Some even refuse to carry war veterans in party vehicles they now drive. I just want you to understand that small things like that add up to give war veterans dignity. Charity begins at home, in the party,” she said.