BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
WAR veterans in Mashonaland West province have laid bare deep-rooted factionalism in Zanu PF and blasted their national chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa for accusing other former freedom fighters of being MDC Alliance and G40 elements.
The war veterans accused Mutsvangwa of being reckless, irresponsible and for not standing with them during the recent arrest of nine of their colleagues. The nine were arrested for demanding more gratuities for war veterans.
In a strongly worded statement dated September 2, the Mashonaland West provincial executive members of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle league, now an arm of Zanu PF, said while they deplored statements by the war veterans pressure group denouncing the party leadership for ignoring their plight, they were disturbed by Mutsvangwa’s stance accusing them of being linked to the MDC Alliance and G40.
“As much as we deplore the position adopted by the War Veterans Pressure Group, we would be remiss to overlook the press statement issued by Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa regarding the objectives, detention and release of members of the group,” the statement said.
“The statement was deliberately ambiguous, derogatory of the veterans involved and many other veterans and was devoid of the qualities expected of a person in his position as the national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and a member of the politburo of the party.”
The war veterans said Mutsvangwa’s statement advanced divisions and tried to separate the War Veterans Pressure Group from other war veterans.
“Let it be known that in as far as the welfare of the veterans is concerned, the War Veterans Pressure Group spoke our minds, which task Cde Mutsvangwa has largely neglected to do,” said the grouping.
“Not only was his (Mutsvangwa) statement baseless, but it was also irresponsible.’’
In exposing the rift in Zanu PF, the war veterans said they “deplored the latent low-key political rivalries of individuals being played out on the veterans of the liberation struggle.”
“The veterans of Hurungwe with neither blink nor apology (sic) deplore in the strongest terms Cde Mutsvangwa’s press statement. The incident quoted above aptly illustrates the workings of the detractors of the party, who have for some time been working to subvert the party from within, which machinations we have become aware of,” said the war veterans.
“It is the intention of this communiqué to put persons with such inclinations, be they within or without the party, on notice that we are vigilant and not complacent in defence of the party and the revolution.”
Nine war veterans were arrested over a week ago after protests at the offices of Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and were released at midnight without charge after the intervention of their lawyers.
The group’s chairperson Amos Sigauke told journalists last week that the government was not sincere in addressing their plight.
Mutsvangwa, who was said to be attending a Zanu PF politburo meeting yesterday, was not picking calls and had not yet responded to messages sent to him by the time of going to print.