Tensions simmer ahead of war vets congress 

Source: Tensions simmer ahead of war vets congress –Newsday Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is set to hold its congress on July 12 this year in the Midlands province, Mnangagwa’s backyard. The congress was initially pencilled for June 14 to 16, but was postponed amid allegations of divisions among ex-combatants.

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is reportedly eyeing to consolidate his power using the war veterans congress slated for next month to bury the presidential ambitions of his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is set to hold its congress on July 12 this year in the Midlands province, Mnangagwa’s backyard. The congress was initially pencilled for June 14 to 16, but was postponed amid allegations of divisions among ex-combatants.

In a joint statement recently, ministers Monica Mavhunga (Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs) and July Moyo (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare) and Zanu PF national secretary for war veterans Douglas Mahiya said the government recognised multiple leadership structures claiming legitimacy under the ZNLWVA.

There are three different ZNLWVA structures led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, Moffat Marashwa and Andrease Mathibela. The war veterans have not been clear on Mnangagwa’s agenda to extend his term beyond 2028, while the women and youth leagues have already endorsed his bid.

Sources said Mnangagwa was aware that the war veterans had influence on the security sector as some of the members are still serving.

The war veterans are also reservists in the Zimbabwe National Army.

There are fears that some ex-combatants want to turn the ZNLWVA into a political party, having been inspired by events in South Africa where former President Jacob Zuma formed the uMkhonto weSizwe.

Three candidates are vying for the top post with Zimbabwe ambassador to Mozambique Victor Matemadanda emerging as a top contender.

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and Joel Mureremba are also vying for the position.

“The women and youth leagues and the war veterans association have now become Zanu PF party organs, the youth and women leagues are very influential in Zanu PF, but the war veterans are more combative,” sources with the ZNLWVA said recently.

“The war veterans, unlike other wings, can influence the security sector while some are still serving in the security sector and we cannot afford to ignore them.

“Mnangagwa is aware that he needs to control all the structures and is eyeing to consolidate power in the war veterans and bury Chiwenga’s ambitions.”

However, Zanu PF director for information Farai Marapira yesterday said Mnangagwa had no need to consolidate power which he already has.

“The President has no need to consolidate power which he already has. However, I cannot comment on the agenda of an affiliate of the party,” he said.

ZNLWVA has been Zanu PF’s main support pillar ahead of each election, 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.

They were also instrumental in the pre- and post-November coup in 2017 which ushered in the Mnangagwa administration.

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