Nduduzo Tshuma Political Editor
ACTING President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday admonished some members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) for endorsing a candidate to succeed President Robert Mugabe while he is still in office.
Addressing an extraordinary Zanu-PF Matabeleland North Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting in Lupane, Cde Mphoko said such former freedom fighters were engaging in taboo and treasonous acts.
He was responding to reports in the private media on Wednesday where ZNLWVA spokesperson Cde Douglas Mahiya revealed that the war veterans had endorsed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe.
VP Mphoko singled out Cde Mahiya, ZNLWVA chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, his deputy Cde Headman Moyo, secretary general Cde Victor Matemadanda and Cde Zenzo Ncube saying they wanted to behave as better veterans than others.
“I want to advise these people from my professional point of view. I’m a military man and I trained very well and I’ve been a commander. War vets, never ever deceive yourselves, some of you are walking on a very dangerous course, you’re walking on the line of treason and subversion,” said Cde Mphoko.
“These people go around talking about me, the First Lady and attack the President indirectly. That’s treason and insubordination. In actual fact building someone when the President is alive and still in office, you talk about me and say I will take over, what does that mean in military terms, it’s a coup, it’s subversion, you can go to any military annals.
“They go on to use my colleague’s name and he knows, he’s a lawyer, he’s a military man, he knows what it means to talk about the position of an elected leader. How do you claim that you will take over a position from a leader who is there and ruling? How do you do it? How are people allowed to talk about a leader who is there, by saying that you’ve ill wishes?
“When you go and speak on my behalf, you can interpret it in anyway, you’re in actual fact creating a warlord. If you speak on my behalf and say Mphoko is there, I become a warlord yet the President is there, yet everyone is supposed to rally behind the President, how then do I come in?”
Cde Mphoko reiterated President Mugabe’s message that the people are the ones who choose leaders and said what had been done by the war veterans “is sin biblically, a crime legally and in military terms, treason.”
He said Cde Moyo was trained in Angola but never fought on the front while Cde Matemadanda trained as a soldier after the war.
Cde Mphoko said he rescued Cde Mutsvangwa from imprisonment in Mozambique but the war veterans leader now claimed not to know him.
He said Cde Ncube was deployed to Mana Pools after training in Russia but failed to operate a gun.
Cde Mphoko described the named war veterans as a bunch of ill-advised people using a document titled, Blue Ocean, with laid down strategies on how to target their perceived enemies.
“These boys have a document titled Blue Ocean. It’s a document which is quite big, that’s where they get the strategy that guides them. Their target is the so called G40 but I don’t know where they get that,” he said.
“Their strategy is that they will undermine everyone they perceive G40 and say a lot of lies to destroy you. This is a subversive book. If anyone here is a member of that group, you’re a subversive person. You can’t talk about the position of the President when he is still in office.”
Cde Mphoko dismissed claims that war veterans appointed President Mugabe to lead Zanu during the liberation struggle but instead he was appointed to the position by the people.
“It’s wrong, President Mugabe was appointed secretary of Zanu in Gweru in 1964,” he said.
Cde Mphoko said President Mugabe left for Mozambique after the death of Herbert Chitepo as he was the second most senior person in the party.
“For him to leave home and go to Mozambique as leader of Zanu doesn’t mean that you elected him as a leader. That is where the fault is, you can never claim that I’m the one who elected Mugabe. All our camps had no authority to appoint a leader. If you see someone claiming that, there is something wrong with that person in terms of how leadership and military structures operate,” he said.
Giving a vote of thanks, Zanu-PF politburo member Cde Obert Mpofu discouraged members of the province from being swayed by negative elements.
He revealed that after the last Zanu-PF national people’s conference, some senior officials tried to turn him against President Mugabe.
“To confirm what you were saying Vice President, when we concluded the conference, I was approached by some senior members, some that you mentioned, asking if I heard how the war vets were insulted. I told them that I didn’t hear any insults but the President was very clear and spoke well without insulting anyone. He was cautioning about some things happening in contravention of the party rules. After that they moved away, they thought I could be easily swayed. If I was easily swayed, I would have been recruited.”
Cde Mpofu said the province was not involved in the schemes against President Mugabe pointing out that a few names had been linked to the plots but those particular persons had not clearly declared their stance.
He said he had told the war veterans from the province not to be swayed, adding that the people behind the project were being given acres of space in the private media to insult the leadership to benefit the enemy.
“If you see yourself clamouring for a position bigger than the one you have then you have a problem. They say leaders are ordained by God,” said Cde Mpofu.
“Matabeleland North let’s not involve ourselves in factionalism. Let’s follow leadership as per our constitution. I spoke here but I was distorted to the effect that I said there is no one in Matabeleland capable of being President. In actual fact I said in Matabeleland North we don’t have a candidate to challenge the President. We don’t have one and we will never as long as President Mugabe is alive. Let’s not fool ourselves, let’s be satisfied with what we have.”
Cde Mpofu said leaders are elected by all structures of Zanu-PF and not a single structure.