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War vets defy Mugabe, back Mutsvangwa

War vets defy Mugabe, back Mutsvangwa

By
Published: 21 February 2016

ZIMBABWE –  Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has backed its beleaguered chairperson, Chris Mutsvangwa, declaring that he was elected by the former fighters and not President Robert Mugabe.

Association secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, said Mutsvangwa “has a term to serve, adding members were happy with his leadership.

All provincial chairpersons are here representing our comrades from all corners of the country, Matemadanda told NewZimbabwe.com.

We are receiving lots of messages that if other quarters do not like Mutsvangwa, the war veterans will continue with him.

Mutsvangwa is not leading the President; he is leading us.

Mutsvangwa’s future as war veterans minister is in doubt after a withering attack by President Mugabe while attempts have also been made to oust him from ZNLWVA.

Mugabe’s attack came after police teargassed and beat up war veterans who tried to attend an “extra-ordinary general meeting called by Mutsvangwa in Harare last week.

The President, who is also ZNLWVA patron, said he was not informed about the meeting, adding Mutsvangwa failed to get police clearance for the gathering as required by the law.

The veteran leader effectively drafted Mutsvangwa’s dismissal letter when saying the minister acted in a completely irresponsible manner which brings the name of the party and that of Government into disrepute.

Mugabe also said Mutsvangwa abused his authority as minister and wondered “whether Minister Mutsvangwa is one and all with the rest of us.

But Matemadanda claimed that there were a lot of people within and outside the ruling Zanu PF party who want to create a bad relationship between the President and war veterans.

We don’t want that; we want to smoothen our relationship with our patron and we cannot say more than what he said last Friday night.

But if people want to read what he said differently, we don’t care and are not worried.

He also said while they supported their patron, “as provincial leaders we do not have the mandate to boot out Mutsvangwa because he was chosen by many liberation war fighters from all corners of the country.

The comrades who chose him are saying he must continue and if we push him out, the comrades are going to remain with Mutsvangwa.

The abortive gathering by the war veterans came after Mugabe’s wife Grace savaged vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of trying to topple her husband.

Grace is being backed by a Zanu PF faction called G40 to succeed her 92-year-old husband while the war veterans are thought to back Mnangagwa.

The divisions had become so bitter that Mugabe felt compelled to order both sides to shut up in a televised national address from State House on Friday.

We don’t want to hear any divisive voice from you, said Mugabe.

The G40s or what you call Lacoste (Mnangagwa supporters) or whatever, shut up! You belong to Zimbabwe first and foremost whatever you must say.

Shut up! Let us not hear any divisive voice from you “the G40s or what you call Lacoste, whatever!