ZIMBABWE – Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has vowed to defy a High Court order barring her from posing as the chairpersonship of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
Addressed journalists at her Mutare offices yesterday, Minister Chimene insisted that she was the one pulling the strings at the association after passing a vote of no confidence on war veterans leader Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, deputy chairperson Cde Headman Moyo and secretary general Cde Victor Matemadanda.
She said she took allegations of practicing occult levelled against her by Cde Mutsvangwa with exception and went on to lable him an “evil” man “without love” for fellow war veterans.
Minister Chimene said war veterans had booted out Cde Mutsvangwa for allegedly abusing them to “further his ambitions”.
In a judgement delivered on Sunday, High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou ordered Minister Chimene and some other war veterans from masquerading as the interim or substantive leadership of the association.
He also interdicted her from issuing Press statements on behalf of the ZNLWVA and its leadership.
Minister Chimene said yesterday that the courts had nothing to do with war veterans’ affairs.
“I will not be barred from working with war veterans because there was no court during the (liberation) war,” she said. “The court must first tell me that I am no longer a war veteran and then by that token I won’t qualify in anything to do with war veterans.
“For as long as I am Cde Mandi Rumbidzai Courage (her war name), the court can say what it wants. I was not send to war by the court and the courts should not involve themselves in these issues.
“In any other circumstances that do not involve participating in issues of war veterans, I will adhere to the court ruling, but in this case I will continue to serve war veterans anywhere because I did not campaign, but they chose me to be their chairperson.
Minister Chimene said President Mugabe recognised Cde Mutsvangwa as the association’s leader during his address to the nation on Friday because his ousting had not been officially communicated to him.
She said the court move by Cde Mutsvangwa was out of desperation.
“We are still educating the war veterans why we have come to that point and then inform the President,” said Minister Chimene. “It shows how much the President is not involved in our passing the vote-of-no confidence because it is now being alleged that we have been sent by the First Lady because we attended the Chiweshe rally.
“They think the decision came from there. What the President said shows it has nothing to do with the First Family. We are not in a hurry, we have to do what we are doing first and then present our reasons to the patron (President Mugabe).”
Minister Chimene accused Cde Mutsvangwa of regarding himself as a “super war veteran”.