By Tendai Kamhungira
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) deputy chairperson Francis Nhando has said that they have started working with Jabulani Sibanda, who was deposed and arrested for claiming that First Lady Grace Mugabe had staged a “bedroom coup”.
Nhando, who is part of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive, said war veterans and Sibanda had found each other after an acrimonious relationship.
Asked if they were considering giving Sibanda a position in the executive after extending an apology to the combative war of liberation fighter, Nhando said: “No it’s not about positions, it’s about a comrade that we failed to understand. He is working with our national executive. We had a meeting with him and we communicate with him regularly. He is with us. It’s very clear that he also now appreciates that we misunderstood him.”
Sibanda was not available for comment yesterday as his mobile phone was not reachable.
The Mutsvangwa-led executive on Wednesday won a High Court case, which confirmed its leadership of the association, following a brawl with the Mandiitawepi Chimene-led group.
The current leadership has also suffered the same circumstances of persecution that Sibanda has gone through, which also led to his arrest for criticising President Robert Mugabe’s leadership.
Following the High Court ruling on Wednesday, ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said the judgment would ensure that they carry out their programmes without any interference.
“The courts of the land put that position very clearly, so we are going to proceed with that. And it is understood that they wanted to act clever, by using the Constitution, which they (Chimene’s group) claimed is three years old, yet it is five years old. So what is left is for us to be dealing with anybody, who will try to disturb the operations of the association.
“We will not allow that to continue, we will not allow that to happen anymore. The association is likely to consult its members on various issues and that is the association’s business as we go ahead, because we want to understand that the war veterans, besides the welfare aspect, are also political in that they committed their only life to ensure the country’s freedom,” Mahiya said.
He said they will not allow politics to be meddled with in a direction which discredits the war veterans.
“In due course we are going to meet because there are a lot of political issues and political developments that need us to be able to speak and deliberate on. But it has been difficult for us to do that without this court order. Now that we have a court order, then it has further concretised our legitimacy, so we now continue with the forthcoming programmes. But the programme that is coming is that all war veterans will be asked to come together and agree on a position to be going along a certain political direction or not going along a certain direction.
“The political direction we are talking about is the initial political direction that we had when we were in Zambia as fighters that we agreed with our leadership and the same with those that were in Mozambique. We agreed on a particular position that we think must not be changed for as long as the constitution still spells us as the cornerstone of the party and that Zimbabwe is born out of the liberation,” he said. Daily News