ZIMBABWE -Manicaland minister, Mandi Chimene says War Veterans chair and minister, Chris Mutsvangwa, is a greedy person with plans to topple President Mugabe and is using war veterans as a springboard to further his personal ambitions.
She made these comments while addressing the media at her government offices on Wednesday.
Chimene said she was not going to be barred from working with war veterans, declaring that there “were no courts during the liberation struggle”.
Her comments followed a court interdict which barred her and some war veterans from masquerading as interim or substantive leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).
Justice Happious Zhou also barred Chimene from issuing press statements on behalf of ZNLWVA. That was after a public announcement by Chimene on February 12 that she had taken over leadership of ZNLWVA as its new chairperson.
“During the struggle, we never went to court for positions and, after all, President Mugabe has intervened and put the matter to rest. We follow what the President has said,” said Chimene.
She added that those who went to court had selfish reasons to do so and were not serving the interests of the liberation fighters.
“I think they benefit something out of being a chairperson of war veterans. We know there are people who have taken war veterans as a springboard to their personal ambitions,” Chimene claimed.
She lambasted Mutsvangwa for using “his education which he acquired through government support” to manipulate ordinary war veterans.
“Those who think they are educated enough to use courts against the majority who are not educated are insane. It leaves a lot to be desired,” said Chimene.
She said, as war veterans, they wanted to know whose interests Mutsvangwa was representing when he took the ex-fighters leadership row to court.
“They are using our names to enrich themselves. Mutsvangwa is harbouring something because all people who want to start their political parties start by insulting President and the First Family.
“Even Margaret Dongo, Edgar Tekere, Joice Mujuru did the same before they formed their political parties,” Chimene said.
She added: “Insults are indicators of those who have ambitions to form their political parties.”
Chimene defended First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies, saying “she is doing her duties as boss of Women’s League”.
“She (Grace) has the right to move around the country addressing issues affecting women. Do we need a court interdict for Amai to travel around the country meeting women in the party?” said Chimene.
She added that Mutsvangwa and his allies planned to topple President Mugabe but had since been exposed and were now “powerless”.
“Mutsvanga is not doing the war veterans any favour. We have exhumed a number of bodies of our comrades but we never saw Mutsvangwa setting his foot at any of the venues.
“At Matumba 6 he never showed up. Where is the love if he is a genuine war veteran?” said Chimene.
She added some of the “so-called war veterans leaders” never won elections in their respective constituencies but were merely President Mugabe’s appointees.
“Look at the wealth Mutsvangwa has acquired because of President Mugabe. He is living pretty while other comrades are languishing in abject poverty.
“He was an ambassador and was appointed in various boards of parastatals like ZBC holding influential positions but he is insulting the very person who has improved his life.
“We never supported him as war veterans. He cannot ride on us. We are not his springboard,” said Chimene, adding, “We don’t want another Zexcom.”
Zexcom Foundation was an investment vehicle which was owned by war veterans and formed during the late Chenjerai Hunzvi’s leadership. It had close to 7,000 shareholders with assets worth close to $2 million in the 1990’s.
Asked to comment on Chimene’s attack, Mutsvangwa said he had “no time for mediocrity”.
He added, “I will not comment on issues which are before the courts. Let her say whatever she wants but we respect the courts.”