Blessings Mashaya 29 June 2017
HARARE – War Veterans minister, Tshinga Dube, had a one-on-one meeting
with President Robert Mugabe after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the first
such encounter since a furore broke out over the retired colonel’s
controversial remarks over the weekend.
The former Zimbabwe Defence Industries chief executive won the hearts of
many when he declared his support for war veterans who are calling on
Mugabe to name his successor to quell the vicious infighting in his party.
But he became a marked man among a section of former liberation war
fighters who cannot fathom a life without Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe
since its attainment of independence from Britain in 1980.
Those peeved by his unprecedented remarks are baying for Dube’s blood,
saying the 76-year-old ex-guerrilla war fighter was advocating for the
blatant violation of Zanu PF’s constitution, which provides that the
party’s first secretary and president is elected at congress, held after
every five years.
Zanu PF had its last congress in 2014, where Mugabe was re-elected
unopposed, earning an automatic ticket to stand in the 2018 polls as its
The next congress is due in 2019, when Mugabe will be 95 years old.
Dube claimed at a press conference yesterday that Mugabe put the matter to
finality when he schooled him about the process followed when the party
wants to choose a successor.
“He came to me after Cabinet. His Excellency talked to me; he just
reminded me that, look, I am only mandated by the constitution to choose
my deputies. I only say yes sir. He said the issue of choosing a successor
lies with the congress. He has given me the directive and, as my
commander-in-chief, I listened. He came in a fatherly manner, as a leader
and as a teacher,” said Dube.
In the wake of pressure being brought to bear on him to anoint a
successor, Mugabe has insisted that whoever would take over from him will
have to be chosen by Zanu PF delegates at congress.
Notwithstanding, ambitious heavyweights in his party are burning the
midnight oil, plotting their ascendancy to the high-pressure job in the
event that Mugabe retires from active politics.
Yesterday, Dube denied speculation that he was merely conveying sentiments
from his purported shadowy handlers, among them Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson, Christopher
Mutsvangwa, who was expelled from Zanu PF and government last year for
undermining Mugabe’s authority, was among those who saluted Dube for being
“I didn’t want to offend anyone. It was my opinion. I respect the
constitution of the party. For those who say I represent Mutsvangwa – I
heard this coming up over and over again – I haven’t met Mutsvangwa for
over a year (now). I don’t know where he is and what he is doing,” said
Dube, but remarked that there was no problem for people to think alike.
Nevertheless, Dube continued to walk a tight political rope as of
A grouping of war veterans opposed to Mutsvangwa and his ZNLWVA leadership
gathered in Harare yesterday where they called for Mugabe to give Dube his
Led by George Mlala and Mandi Chimene, the Provincial Affairs minister for
Manicaland, the war veterans said Dube was not representing their
interests when he made those controversial utterances.
“We want to spread this (anti-Dube gatherings) to all provinces. Go and
tell the people that Dube misfired and we are appealing to the president
to do something. Those who are saying president Mugabe must retire are the
same people who came with him from war and worked in government since 1980
and they must also retire if they want our president to retire,” said
Chimene, who also denigrated Dube’s looks.
Mlala weighed in, saying Dube must resign.
“Dube must go and wait for his preferred candidate whom he thinks is ready
to succeed the president at a bus stop. We don’t want him to be a
minister,” he said.
Dube was adamant yesterday, that he will continue to serve as long as
Mugabe wants him to.
He said Chimene and Mlala had no say in the appointment of ministers as it
was Mugabe’s prerogative to do so.
“I don’t think the president is told by (Mandi) Chimene and (George) Mlala
to hire and fire. I was appointed by the president; if he thinks I am not
doing my job he will fire me,” he said.
“That’s wishful thinking, their suggestions don’t carry any weight. I have
no respect for them. I never heard anyone who was appointed by Chimene and
Mlala to be a minister. War veterans are like any other people they have
the right to say something about the future of the country. We are also
interested in the future of our country as war veterans,” he said.