Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Government will not interfere with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) meeting scheduled for Thursday as it is the association’s democratic to converge.
The High Court gave the green light to the ZNLWVA to hold the meeting at the City Sports Centre after the police had barred them last week.
In an interview yesterday, the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said it was not the Government’s decision to sanction the meeting.
He said the ZNLWVA was a voluntary organisation which does not represent the views of all freedom fighters and the ministry has no business in its activities.
“It’s a voluntary organisation within the war veterans. It doesn’t necessarily mean every war veteran is a member of the association. There are many war veterans who are not even members of the association,” said Rtd Col Dube.
“So it’s not a question of us sanctioning the meeting. It’s generally an issue between them and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Like anyone wanting to hold a meeting they have to notify the ZRP who can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
He said no Government official is expected to participate at or address the meeting.
“There is no Government official that is sponsored by us or any official that we know of who is going to attend. If ever there is anyone to attend it will be because of personal invitation not an official from the ministry,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said while the ZNLWVA was preparing for a meeting which will be attended by just a section of the ex-freedom fighters, the Government was finalising the dates for one for all war veterans to be held next month.
“Not that I’m against or I’m for the meeting. It’s just that we’re preparing for our annual gathering which is known by all war veterans,” said Rtd Col Dube.
He said as a presidential appointee he will only act according to President Mugabe’s orders and the Thursday’s meeting is not part of his schedule.
“I’m Caesar’s ambassador. Caesar’s ambassador can only do what Caesar has assigned him to do. So what this means is that the President is the Caesar and I can only do what is approved by the President. I’m an appointee of the President and cannot do anything without his clearance,” he said.
Last year, running battles between the war veterans and police ensued after the ex-freedom fighters convened an illegal meeting at the same venue.