Defence and War Veterans deputy minister Victor Matemadanda was yesterday forced to cancel a scheduled address at a meeting of former liberation war fighters in Marondera after a rival group organised a parallel event.
Matemadanda, who was allegedly poisoned at a recent Zanu PF provincial coordinating committee meeting addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the same town on November 14, was scheduled to address the war veterans gathered at Mbuya Nehanda Hall.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) had organised the provincial coordinating committee meeting.
Matemadanda is said to have deployed a political commissar, whose identity could not be immediately established, to address the former fighters led by Peter Sigauke after the chaos became apparent.
“Disgruntled war veterans led by one Samunda were having their own meeting at the Zanu PF provincial party headquarters,” a war veteran, who requested anonymity said.
“Cde Matemadanda was supposed to go to the hall, but at the party provincial headquarters, there was another meeting.
“He was forced to abort the meeting and deployed a political commissar, who comes from Manicaland, in his place.”
But Matemadanda said he was not aware of the meeting.
“I was at school, I am not aware of the meetings you are talking about,” Matemadanda said.
However, this journalist witnessed war veterans being bussed from the province’s nine districts to Mbuya Nehanda Hall where they waited to be addressed by the deputy minister, who was in a no-show.
Some war veterans were overhead urging their colleagues to snub the meeting of the rival faction at the party provincial headquarters.
It could not be immediately verified why Matemadanda’s meeting was pencilled in for Mbuya Nehanda Hall instead of the Zanu PF provincial offices.
The ZNLWVA are now an arm of the ruling party.
War veterans played a very active role in the ouster of the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
The ex-combatants are now divided with some accusing their leaders of neglecting their welfare.
Matemadanda was appointed Defence deputy minister and Zanu PF political commissar after the coup while spokesperson Douglas Mahiya was promoted to the politburo to represent the ex-fighters.
— The Standard