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Govt dumps Mutsvangwa, orders war vets association to find new leadership

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) claims it was directed to form a National Interim Committee which will effectively unseat the leadership of Christopher Mutsvangwa who has reportedly breached the organisation’s constitution by not facilitating the holding of elections for ten years.

Addressing journalists in Harare on Wednesday, the interim committee’s vice chair, Ethan Matibela accused Mutsvangwa of being unprofessional as he allegedly breached the law that regulates the organisation.

Matibela added that, under Mutsvangwa, a ruling Zanu-PF party’s spokesperson, ZNLWVA last had a congress a decade ago.

“ZNLWVA was first registered in 1990 as a private voluntary organisation with a mandate and aim of addressing the welfare of the veterans of the liberation struggle their spouses and children, which comprises, Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army(ZANLA). The initiative would embark on various business programmes and projects which would guarantee improved living standards and social comfort for former liberation stalwarts,” he said.

“The Associations constitution dictates that the organisation should be run and operated by an elected national executive whose mandate would last for five years and thereafter, an elective congress would be conducted. Now on several occasions the Association has experienced a gross disregard of its constitutional processes, chief among them, the lack of professionalism, no functioning systems in place, undue interference, lack of accountability and no clear programmes to embark on during the life of the sitting committee.

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“This adversely affected the effective running of the Association and the results were a continued deterioration of the living conditions of the intended constituency, the former fighters, their spouses and children.

“There has been a brief credit accorded to the Association and it is only during Dr Chenjerai Hunzvi’s Executive tenure where comrades impelled the government to award them fifty thousand Zimbabwean dollars Z$50 000.00. After Comrade Hunzvi’s tenure, the association began to experience a completely different school of management which diverged from the core business of the welfare private voluntary organisation. The Association suffered immensely as a result.”

Matibela said the protesting members wanted to secure the association from the gross misalignment under the previous executives and put it back to its founding ideals, that of the welfare of its members, their spouses and children.

“It is against this background where a few individuals took upon themselves to spearhead the resuscitation and reformation of the now defunct Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association back to its founding ideals.

“The initiators have both the blessings of the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, through the line ministry (Labour and Social Welfare) who is the approving authority for registering PVO’s. The Ministry advised us to create a National Interim Committee to resuscitate the Association by preparing for an elective congress upon which a fresh mandate will be given to a new National executive to run the affairs of the Association for the next five years. It is expected this time around that the new executive will do everything possible never to repeat the mistakes experienced from the previous executive.

“Ladies and gentleman, members of the press, comrades and friends, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association is no ordinary private voluntary organisation, it has members and represents veterans of the liberation struggle, the dead and the living. Its mandate covers all dimensions embracing economic, political, security, social and physiological needs.

“Veterans of the liberation struggle volunteered to join the armed struggle, in the process exposing themselves to the ills of the war which resulted in the wanton loss of lives, social comfort and the opportunity to further one’s education purely to help the black marginalized Zimbabweans attain their independence from the colonial settlers regime and their imperial masters. Forty three years after independence, ex- combatants are still wallowing in abject poverty and they have nothing to show for it. The country’s scorecard is hinged on the welfare of its war veterans.

“The government of Zimbabwe is responsible for the welfare of the veterans, it therefore becomes incumbent upon the leadership of this very esteemed Association to work flat out by engaging stakeholders such as our government to effectively address the plight of the veterans and their families.

“It is indeed a total embarrassment to witness the majority of veterans without access to basic healthcare services, a decent living pension and no roof over their heads they would call their own. This kind of scenario is unacceptable especially when our erstwhile colleagues are running the government of the day.

“They should be the first to understand the plight of the rest of the veterans of the liberation struggle because they shared trenches with us, risked their lives with us and had their backs protected by us in order to enjoy the independence under their purview.

“As the globe is approaching a new world order, veterans of the liberation struggle should be at the forefront by perpetuating the ideals of the struggle for parity in humankind.

“We fought against the unjust system in support of world order where global citizens would regard each other as equal. Let’s remain vigilant and embrace our pan Africanism as our guiding principle,” Matibela added.