BY KENNETH NYANGANI
RECENTLY re-elected Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro has blasted “a few war veterans” whom he accused of causing divisions in the party.
His statement comes after war veterans in Manicaland province refused to recognise the Zanu PF provincial elections which resulted in Madiro retaining chairmanship.
The ex-freedom fighters met in Mutare last week and agreed to push for a meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to register their concerns over Madiro’s chairmanship and accused him of rigging the elections.
Madiro yesterday told NewsDay that there were only a handful of war veterans that were against his chairmanship.
“There are just a few veterans in the province who want to tarnish the image of the party and war veterans. What I know is that war veterans are disciplined and I want to remind them of the principles that we fought for.
“I have brothers and sisters that are war veterans — the presidium is made up of war veterans, and a majority of Zanu PF Central Committee members are war veterans. There are a few war veterans that have a negative narrative of me, and I work well with war veterans in the province,” he said.
The dispute between Madiro and war veterans began after the ex-freedom fighters failed to get strategic positions in the party in the provincial executive.
Currently, Madiro is on a tour of the province to introduce the new provincial executive.
Yesterday Madiro was in Zimunya in Marange district. On Saturday, he was in Rusape. The brief meeting in Rusape was attended by former Agriculture minister Joseph Made, former Zanu PF youth boss Kudzai Chipanga, and Makoni District Co-ordination Committee chairperson Albert Nyakuedzwa.
Sources, who attended the meeting, said it was tense, with over 20 police officers deployed outside the venue over fear of possible violence.
Makoni is the home of Nyakuedzwa, who was defeated by Madiro amid vote-rigging allegations.
Tempers also flared at the Rusape meeting after Makoni district war veterans chairman Harry Mangani and another war veteran Gina Makuwaza asked Madiro why he had not appointed war veterans in key positions.
It is alleged that Madiro and his executive removed a war veteran, Gift Kagweda, from the provincial political commissar position and replaced him with his long-time loyalist Dorothy Mabika.
Other positions in the province were also allegedly given to Madiro’s loyalists.
Madiro is a close ally of Mnangagwa, and during the weekend meeting, sources said he openly bragged about it.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association national political commissar Joel Mureremba last week told a gathering in Mutare that the ex-freedom fighters would seek a meeting with Mnangagwa to discuss electoral fraud in the province.
“There are people that are trying to block us from meeting Mnangagwa,” Mureremba said.
Meanwhile, there is rising tension in Zanu PF ahead of the primary elections as the province prepares to choose candidates for the by-elections schedule for March 26.
Manicaland has two vacant National Assembly seats, in Dangamvura, Chikanga and Mutasa South constituencies.
Mutare District Co-ordination Committee chairperson Binali Yard yesterday confirmed that some candidates had already submitted their curriculum vitaes for vetting.
“Yes, l have reports of candidates decampaigning each other in Dangamvura/Chikanga and Mutasa South constituencies. We urge people to campaign peacefully as our wounds are still fresh after the party’s provincial elections,” Yard said.
There are also seven local authority seats that are up for grabs in Mutare.