ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has effectively ruptured as factional squabbling in Zanu PF party affects its surrogate groups.
The ruling party appears at war with itself over the succession of President Robert Mugabe who turns 92 this month.
ZNLWVA national chair, Chris Mutsvangwa and wife Monica, secretary-general Victor Matemadanda and another official, Headman Moyo, were kicked out last week amid indications a parallel structure was being established.
The war vet leaders, who are said to back vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as President Mugabe’s successor, were ousted by a ruling party faction rallying behind First Lady Grace Mugabe.
But Matemadanda has rejected their dismissal which was announced by manicaland provincial minister, and Grace Mugabe ally, Mandi Chimene on Friday.
“What Chimene and her group have done is to form a splinter organization,” he told the Sunday Mail.
“They had no mandate to carry out such a meeting from the start because she was no longer part of the executive. She failed to attend three consecutive meetings, automatically relinquishing her post.
“What we have now done is get input from other executive members and they have requested that we call a conference so that we set the record straight.”
Matemadanda was backed by the association’s Bulawayo region chairman Cephas Ncube.
“First and foremost, we want to make it clear that Mandi Chimene is not the national executive. What she did is a sign of ignorance of the provisions of the association’s constitution,” said Ncube.
“If she knew its provisions, she would have followed them with a national executive being called to a meeting where the accused persons would be present and then pass the votes of no confidence at that forum.”
Ncube added: “We are saddened by Mandi Chimene’s statement, coming after we elected the President.
“President Mugabe was given the power to choose people he would work with, and Mutsvangwa was elected to chair the war veterans’ association at a meeting in Masvingo.
“President Mugabe endorsed the election of Mutsvangwa as chairman of war veterans, and he appointed him as Minister of War Veterans … Bulawayo province says ‘no, this is unconstitutional’.
“They should go and sleep and not confuse comrades who want to improve the lives of war veterans.”