War vets turn on Mutsvangwa, dare Chiwenga

WAR veterans have turned on their leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, accusing him of selling out the struggle to maintain the principles of the liberation struggle in the aftermath of an attack by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, who reprimanded them for criticising President Robert Mugabe.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa

In a hard-hitting statement released by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) yesterday, the ex-freedom fighters rapped Chiwenga for dabbling in politics and trying to threaten or trivialise the efforts of his peers, simply because he holds the armoury.

The statement, released by ZNLWVA secretary for education, Zvakanyorwa Wilbert Sadomba, was in stark contrast to Mutsvangwa’s statements of submission.

“We will not be intimidated by Chiwenga or anyone else for that matter when it comes to our historic mission of total emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe from any forms of exploitation, oppression and corruption, by whosoever and whatever the race, colour, creed or ethnicity of that perpetrator. We assure the nation that we shall not abrogate that duty as freedom fighters,” the statement read.

ZNLWVA went for the jugular, saying Chiwenga was in violation of the Constitution and his office, as he was supposed to steer clear from politics.

“An open political campaign for a Zanu PF party presidential candidate, which is a gross violation of the spirit and express terms of Zimbabwe’s Constitution, specifically sections 208, 211(3) and 212,” the statement read.

“Personalisation of the armed struggle and entrenchment of a dynastic cult, by singling out individual fighters and a civilian as the liberators of Zimbabwe and simultaneous denigration of multitudes of freedom fighters of the national war of liberation in total violation of the spirit of the Constitution regarding the honour and recognition bestowed on freedom fighters of this nation, as expressed in its preamble.”

The war veterans said Chiwenga had a duty to defend all aspiring presidential candidates, including MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and not side with Mugabe, whom they have repeatedly accused of fronting corruption and ruining the economy.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces have a constitutional duty and mandate to protect all citizens especially all aspiring presidential candidates inclusively, despite their history, political affiliation or ideological leanings, with unfettered impartiality,” they said.

Sadomba said Mutsvangwa’s statement caving in to threats by Chiwenga would be dealt with internally, warning that the association did not have sacred cows.

“We do not have an anointed leader, the revolution is not a parcel held and delivered by one person. If one stops believing in the views of the collective, they are free to leave the office and let another take over, this is our position as ZNLWVA,” he said.

The hard-hitting response comes against the advice of War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube, who has called on ZNLWVA to apologise to Mugabe and desist from attacking him.

Mutsvangwa dismissed the statement saying it did not represent ZNLWVA interests and accused Sadomba of being used by the G40 faction in Zanu PF to drive a wedge between the war veterans and the army.

“I am the chairman and spokesperson of the association. We consult among ourselves the war veterans, the army, and the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) and we will never quarrel among ourselves, we are progeny from the same mother,” he said.

“That statement does not have my blessings, our quarrels have been with the G40 and now that their star is waning, we can only derive joy.”