SOME members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) have demanded the dissolution of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive on account of neglecting them.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, the former freedom fighters led by Ethan Mathibela, who was flanked by Ignatius Mutsinze, Shelly Kays and Fandafa Wandafa, accused the Mutsvangwa leadership of lacking vision, poor management, not holding annual general meetings and failing to produce audited accounts of the association.
"We demand that upon dissolution of the national leadership, there be a mechanism in place to start a process of conducting a congress which will allow the election of a new leadership," Mathibela said.
Mutsvangwa's executive includes, among the top national leadership, his deputy Headman Moyo, secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, spokesperson Douglas Mahiya and political commissar Francis Nhando.
The ex-combatants, who raised their concerns with Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima, claimed that the minister promised to instruct Matemadanda to write a letter of dissolution and also demanded that clear timelines be given from the date of dissolution to the congress.
"Since its inception, the ZNLWVA has been affected negatively by poor management and lack of visionary leadership. We have observed that leadership has failed to establish an independent headquarters for the association. There are no proper structures of up to date paid up members, no annual general meeting, no clear policy to guide the direction of the association, no audited reports of the association's finances," said Mathibela.
Mavima yesterday confirmed that he had been approached over the issue, but accused Mathibela of jumping the gun by taking the matter to the media.
"They indeed came with various issues, including demanding a congress and their welfare, but I must say they jumped the gun because I needed to approach their patron, who is President Emmerson Mnangagwa, first. They should have waited for the process they had initiated before going to the press," Mavima said.
The war veterans complained that 95 percent of former freedom fighters continued to live in abject poverty, 40 years after the country attained independence.
"Comrades in their large numbers have rertuned to their rural homes because they cannot cope with the cost of living in the cities.
"It is catastrophic that many of us die not because of old age, but we cannot afford access to healthcare. The majority of us do not have titled homes, let alone access to basic necessities such a water and electricity.
"We need to change the paradigm because we have put much trust and faith in a system that continues to sideline us," Mathibela said, slamming the ZNLWVA leadership of pursuing partisan politics at their expense.
Mutsvangwa was elected the ZNLWVA chairperson unopposed at the Masvingo congress in 2014 where he took over from Jabulani Sibanda.
Matemadanda yesterday described the group as remnants of the G40 faction that was vanquished when the army overthrew the late former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017. The G40 group rallied behind Mugabe's wife, Grace, and vehemently fought against Mnangagwa succeeding the late veteran nationalist.