Blessings Mashaya 3 January 2018
HARARE – Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA)
must go for a fresh congress to elect a new leadership after the top guns
in the association bagged plush jobs in government and the ruling party
Zanu PF, analysts have said.
Following the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZNLWVA
chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa was appointed special advisor to the
president, the secretary-general for the association Victor Matemadanda
was appointed as the secretary for war veterans in the politburo, while
the association’s spokesperson Douglas Mahiya is now the political
commissar for Zanu PF Harare province.
However, the Mutsvangwa-led association has a mandate running until the
next congress due in 2019.
Analysts said the war veterans’ leadership must now step down because it
cannot represent the war veterans against the government which they are
“When they join the government they become compromised. But their plus is
that they have been fearless under Mugabe regime,” political analyst
Shakespear Hamauswa said.
“It depends with the interests being demanded. The best they can do is to
push for an environment where people of different abodes can pursue
peculiar interests without discrimination.
“The challenge is that one cannot be part of an interest group and be part
of government at the same time. What will happen is a repeat of MDC during
the GNU where it became acutely difficult for a party which was born out
of workers’ movement to become the employer.
“The veterans will have too many demands which the government will not be
able to fulfil.”
Another political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the association
represents the ruling party interests.
“That whole association was a scandal and remains so. It only represented
Zanu PF-affiliated war veterans.
“There are many other war veterans that have nothing to do with Zanu PF
who are not represented in that partisan association.
“Even in that association, it represented mainly the interests of the
“So even if some of them are now in government, that association will
never be capable of representing interests of genuine non-partisan war
vets. It’s actually a Zanu PF wing than a war vets association,” he said.
However, Matemadanda said they are not in any way compromised because they
are able to separate party business from the association.
“I don’t think our leadership is now compromised,” he said.
“We are still able to represent the war veterans because when we discuss
war veterans’ issues, it is pure war veterans’ issues and not Zanu PF
“We discuss party issues in Zanu PF meetings. The association is not
aligned to any political party but individuals are allowed to join any
political party whether it’s MDC, Zanu PF or any other political party.”
He added: “Zanu PF readmitted us but we remain freedom fighters. Our
concerns as freedom fighters are the same whether you belong to Zanu PF or
MDC – so the association is for all veterans.
“The fact that we are in Zanu PF doesn’t stop us from championing the
concerns of war veterans.”