By Jeffrey Muvundusi
BULAWAYO – Veterans of the military wing of the late, Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu have said they are being sidelined by the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).
The Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army’s (Zipra) Veterans Trust took a dig at the Znlwva, accusing it of ostracising them and ignoring their undisputable role in the liberation struggle.
Comforter Dube, the Zipra Veterans Trust secretary general, yesterday said the Mutsvangwa-led Znlwva was not all inclusive in its operations, describing it as divisive and counter progressive.
Mutsvangwa has since been appointed the minister for Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees.
“What worries us as former Zipra is the blatant sidelining of the former Zipra Command in mapping the future of our former combatants,” Dube told the Daily News.
“Even the preparations and activities at the Znlwva Masvingo Congress were not all inclusive, notwithstanding the fact that the presence of the former Zipra High Command in the security forces is insignificant to say the least.”
Dube said it was unfortunate that some elements within the war veterans association were sidelining other veterans despite the clear history of unity dating back to the colonial era.
He added that Znlwva was created to look after the interests of all veterans of the liberation war adding that the interests of every war veteran must be considered by any government formed by any political party in the Zimbabwe they fought to liberate.
“War veterans need to be united as war veterans. They should pay allegiance to Znlwva.
“For them to pay allegiance to Znlwva, the association should be non-discriminatory. All members must feel equal before the association irrespective of their religion, political and any other conviction or association,” he said.
Dube also took aim at the so-called War Veterans Elders whom he said were “politically” handpicked to map the future of Znlwva.
“We at Zipra do not recognise some of those as elders, hence the move is counter-productive.”
Towards the 6th Zanu PF congress, some individuals calling themselves War Veterans Elders, waded into the party’s internecine squabbles which saw the outspoken former war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda being deposed after his “bedroom coup” gaffe.
Zipra described the Znlwva Masvingo Congress which elected Mutsvangwa as the chairman last month as unconstitutional.
“The congress itself was unconstitutional, and as a result a lot of questions beg for answers — the first one being who suspended the Znlwva constitution and under what authority?
“Who are these war veterans’ elders? How do they qualify to be elders? Under what legality was the congress in Masvingo held? To whom are those elected in Masvingo answerable? How long is their term of office?
What is their legitimacy in the eyes of the war veterans since they were elected under a non-existing constitution?”
Dube, however, said it was shocking that the association has been turned into an entirely Zanu PF entity, yet it is made up of war veterans from different political parties. Daily News