Sunday, July 31, 2016

Final Nail in Mutsvangwa’s Coffin

THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association will soon hold a special congress to elect a new leadership to replace the Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive, a Cabinet minister has said.

Welfare Services for War Veterans, Collaborators and Ex-Detainees Minister, Colonel (Retired) Tshinga Dube, told The Sunday Mail that following President Mugabe’s intervention, his ministry was engaging the free fighters to prepare for a special congress this year.

He said, “The President took a stance to call for new leadership of war veterans and as (the) minister responsible I will work to do what is best for these comrades. This process of leadership renewal for war veterans is going to be done constitutionally and without violating the principles of the association.”

Rtd Col Dube explained that it was difficult for the war veterans association, an affiliate of Zanu-PF, to work with an executive led by Mr Mutsvangwa as he had been expelled from the ruling party.

“We are also going to approach Cde Mutsvangwa to persuade him that for the good of the war veterans, he needs to step aside,” he said. “Although it is a sovereign association the war veterans association cannot be separated from the party. This is because war veterans and Zanu-PF share the same revolutionary principles and they cannot do without one another. So you have to understand that the war veterans and Zanu PF share the same DNA. War veterans are the people who brought Zanu PF into being and similarly the party is what it is because of war veterans.”

Rtd Col Dube said the party could not watch the war veterans association going astray.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Mail has gathered that Rtd Col Dube had invited war veterans for a meeting on the same day that a faction of the group issued a “treasonous communiqué”, insinuating that the minister knew of the existence of the communiqué before it became public.

ZNLWVA elder Cde George Mlala told The Sunday Mail on Friday that he was invited by an official from Rtd Col Dube’s office on July 18, 2016 for the July 21 meeting. However, the same official then phoned Cde Mlala on the evening of July 20, 2016 advising him that the meeting had been cancelled.

The minister confirmed to us he had cancelled the gathering, but was unaware that ZNLWVA secretary-general Mr Victor Matemadanda had convened another one where the communiqué was then read.

“We didn’t know about the Raylton Club meeting; we only read about it in the Press. I have explained this to Mlala but he doesn’t want to understand. We had called for two meetings — one for war veterans and another for collaborators but we cancelled the one for war veterans; it was our own decision. The war collaborators meeting was a preparatory one for an indaba with the President,” said Rtd Col Dube.

But Cde Mlala claimed he raised his allegations against the minister in a meeting last Thursday at Zanu-PF headquarters with President Mugabe and Cdes Dube, Sydney Sekeramai (Zanu-PF Secretary for War Veterans), Ignatius Chombo (part Secretary for Administration), Mandi Chimene, Joseph Chinotimba and Patrick Nyaruwata.

Cde Mlala said he challenged Rtd Cold Dube to explain the agenda of the meeting that he then cancelled.

“Up to now Cde Dube has failed to explain if the meeting which they had invited us was different with the one which was held at Raylton Club. What was the agenda of Cde Dube’s meeting and why did he cancel it? …

“I raised all these issues even when the President was there, so that we expose the root of the problem we are dealing with now. If Cde Dube had not called for the July 21 meeting, maybe the communiqué would not have been read,” charged Cde Mlala.

Cde Mlala singled out Mr Mutsvangwa as the author of the communiqué.

The Sunday Mail has also established that the communiqué was the culmination of meetings between some ZNLWVA leaders and lower structures countrywide.

Sources said the plot to pen the document began after the war veterans met President Mugabe in April.

“After the meeting with President Mugabe at Harare City Sports Centre, some association leaders began provincial meetings purporting to be giving a feedback of the meeting with our Commander-in-Chief to members who did not attend.

“In those meetings the leaders were pushing the agenda that was in the communiqué. Then after the Raylton Sports Club meeting they released the communiqué to the media.”

The source said the communiqué had not been read during the meeting at Raylton Sports Club.

The meeting had on its agenda the welfare of war veterans, the state of Zanu-PF and a report on developments following the meeting with President Mugabe in April, added the source.

“The meeting at Raylton ended around 4pm after it was resolved that there was need to engage the President again. This was after concerns had been raised that school fees of war veterans’ children had only been paid for the first term,” said the source.

“There was also the issue of delays in payment of monthly payouts as it was felt the war veterans (were) not being prioritised together with other Government pensioners. It was also felt that the reports presented by leaders of thematic committees during the meeting with the President in April omitted some issues which needed to be addressed.

“As a result, it was proposed that we meet the President again but this time in small numbers to enable clear dialogue with the leader. So the communiqué was a premeditated move that it would be given to the media to say this is what we agreed during the closed door meeting.”

Security and law enforcement agencies are investigating the origins of the communiqué.

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