Fierce fighting rocks war vets body

Source: Fierce fighting rocks war vets body -Newsday Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has been rocked by fierce power struggles after a “new“ leadership emerged claiming to have elbowed out War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa’s executive.

Mutsvangwa has been at the helm of the war veterans association for the past 10 years.

Two weeks ago, a new executive led by Andrease Mathibela claimed to have held a congress where a new leadership of the association was voted into office.

Other members of the new executive were identified as Edward Dube (secretary-general), Livingstone Chineka (finance secretary), Aloise Chimeri (information secretary) and Karen Kazingizi (welfare secretary).

Blessed Runesu Geza, who was allegedly elected as vice-president of the association, yesterday distanced himself from the grouping.

“I am not part of the group. They just woke up and said I am now the vic- president of the new executive. They did not have a proper congress, it was done on WhatsApp,” Geza said.

In an interview with NewsDay, the commissar of the Mutsvangwa executive, Jowell Mureremba and interim spokesperson Sam Parirenyatwa both described the Mathibela executive as bogus.

 “One cannot just wake up and say they are the leaders of our association,” Mureremba said.

“We wanted to do a congress and President Emmerson Mnangagwa stopped us saying we should focus on the (August) election. It should be noted that we are products of Zanu PF and Zapu and we respect our political party.”

Mureremba said the association had been given the greenlight to hold an elective congress.

“Preparations are at an advanced stage and soon we will announce the date for the congress,” he said.

Said Parirenyatwa: “We do not recognise the recently-elected leadership. They are bogus and fleecing companies in the name of war veterans.”

However, Mathibela dug in insisting that he was the new chairperson.

Mathibela said the Mutsvangwa executive had ignored the plight of ex-combatants, as it lived lavishly while the majority of ex-fighters languished in poverty.

“The two main reasons why we went to war was to attain both political and economic freedoms. As war veterans, we are no longer respected. Our lives are now worse and at times you really ask yourself why you went to war? The wealth of this country is being enjoyed by only a few people,” he said.

Kazingizi, the executive’s welfare secretary, said their aim was to improve the welfare of the liberation fighters.

“The new executive takes off with a defined roadmap emanating from the congress resolutions and it’s no longer business as usual,” she said.

ZNLWVA has been Zanu PF’s main support pillar ahead of each electionsince its formation in 1990, with war veterans often accused of leading violent campaigns against the opposition.

In 2000, the war veterans led the invasion of farms in an operation that the ruling party deemed necessary to correct colonial land imbalances between blacks and whites.

The war veterans were also instrumental in the pre-and post-November coup in 2017 which ushered in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.