via Be careful, Mpofu warns party members – Sunday News Feb 20, 2016
Dumisani Sibanda Sunday News Correspondent
ONE of the pioneering executive members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and Zanu-PF Politburo member, Dr Obert Mpofu, has castigated leaders of the organisation of former freedom fighters for indiscipline. Dr Mpofu — who is also Minister of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion — was addressing Zanu-PF leaders in his constituency at a meeting at his homestead in Umguza yesterday.
“We saw what happened in Harare when some war veterans were tear gassed and sprayed with water after assembling at the City Sports Centre where they had been misled that they would be addressed by President Mugabe,” he said. “Be careful not to be dragged into such shenanigans. You have to be disciplined and even you as members of the party should be disciplined and make sure when you hold your meetings you inform the police.”
On Friday, President Mugabe rapped embattled war veterans chairman, Cde Christopher Mutsvanga for calling a meeting of former freedom fighters in Harare on Thursday using false claims that the Head of State wanted to address them and police had to use tear gas to disperse them from Harare City Sports Centre after their meeting was deemed illegal.
In an interview after the constituency meeting in Umguza, Dr Mpofu said as one of the founders of the war veterans association he was disturbed by the levels of indiscipline taking place in the organisation of the ex-combatants.
“The President spoke yesterday (on Friday) on this issue and it is important that the association which has a constitution should be guided by the organisation’s principles and values as enunciated in that constitution,” he said.
“The President is the patron of the association and at no time has he incited violence. Instead he has united the people regardless of where they come from. If Zanu-PF and PF Zapu — the two liberation movements — were not disciplined we would not have gotten this far as a nation. What is happening is something else whose agenda is not Zanu-PF. Threatening others with violence is not the Zanu-PF way and defies the spirit of oneness which was emphasised at the party’s conference in Victoria Falls.”
Dr Mpofu said some of the people who are “making noise” in the association now did not show any interest in it when they were forming it in 1988 alongside war veterans like Harare High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe and Cde George Mlala, among others.
“I was the leader in Bulawayo at the association’s formation and we used to have our meetings at the YWCA Hall,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said as people with a military background war veterans should act in a disciplined manner at all times.
Earlier addressing the meeting Dr Mpofu lauded the party’s provincial chairman, Cde Richard Moyo for sticking to the party’s principles and guidelines and said this was the reason that he has remained in this position while his counterparts in other provinces have been removed.
“Richard has done us proud as Matabeleland North,” he said amid applause. “Some provinces have had their chairpersons changed three times but he has remained in his position. We are talking of ministers like Biggie Matiza. When Cde Moyo was elected there were some who said Mpofu has imposed his boy but he has displayed good leadership qualities and remained steadfast.”
He implored war veterans from Umguza to display the same kind of discipline and not allow themselves to be used by people harbouring their own sinister agendas. Cde Moyo and Dr Mpofu’s wife, who is a member of the party’s Central Committee, Cde Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, were among those who attended yesterday’s meeting in Umguza.