Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent—
FIRED War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa has lost his position as chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA) as former freedom fighters cannot be led by someone who has been suspended from Zanu-PF, a senior official said yesterday. The Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said war veterans should hold an emergency meeting to elect a new leader following Mutsvangwa’s suspension from Zanu-PF for three years for gross misconduct and disloyalty.
The Politburo found Mutsvangwa guilty of undermining the authority of Zanu-PF’s President and First Secretary, and insulting the First Family. He will not hold any party position during his suspension, though he can remain a Zanu-PF member and National Assembly representative.
The announcement by Rtd Col Dube comes as a blow to Mutsvangwa who told a private weekly newspaper that he does not care about political appointments after he was sacked as War Veterans Minister, but was content to be Norton MP and ZNLWA chairperson.
Rtd Col Dube said war veterans should elect a new chairman after their proposed meeting with their patron President Robert Mugabe. “They’ve to elect a new chairman. I’ll only facilitate the process as their Minister. This will happen after the meeting with the President. They should elect another chairman because they can’t work under someone who has been suspended from the party,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said war veterans should be patient if they want to hold a meeting with the President. “Meeting the President should be taken seriously. You can’t just decide that today or tomorrow you want to meet the President. You should have an agenda first not to just say you want to meet the President, for what?” he asked.
Rtd Col Dube said infighting among war veterans must end if they want their grievances to be addressed.
“They should stop going after each other’s throats. We’re planning that their meeting be turned into a conference so that it may take a day or two. We will invite other ministers like for example the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Lands and the Minister of Mines so that we can address their problems. All this can’t happen if they’re divided,” he said.
Mutsvangwa told a privately-owned weekly newspaper that President Robert Mugabe cannot be trusted following their meeting last week.
“The man I had trusted and served for 40 years was no longer there. I came out unsure of whether I could hang onto his word. I left with a distinct feeling of mistrust,” Mutsvangwa was quoted as saying. War veterans’ council of elders’ member Cde George Mlala blasted Mutsvangwa saying his statements were tantamount to insulting the President.
He told The Chronicle war veterans still believed in President Mugabe and those defending Mutsvangwa were free to join him as the association has no business working with people who are against the President. “These are insults directed at the President. The generality of the war veterans can’t accept that.
“If you’re saying the President can’t be trusted, it’s simply unacceptable,” said Cde Mlala. He said Mutsvangwa should return to his senses because only a drunkard could utter such statements about President Mugabe who is trusted by Africans at large.