via Mutsvangwa, Sibanda share stage as War Vets meet – Sunday News Mar 13, 2016
Dumisani Sibanda Sunday News Correspondent
ZANU-PF Bulawayo Senator Cde Angeline Masuku and War Veterans Association chairman Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday shared a stage with expelled former party member and ex-freedom fighters leader Jabulani Sibanda at a meeting held in Bulawayo. Cde Mutsvangwa was found guilty of undermining the authority of PresidentMugabe and insulting the First Family. He was stripped of his position as a member of the Politburo before eventually being removed as Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, former Political Detainees and Restrictees.
The meeting, which was held at the Bulawayo War Veterans Association provincial headquarters in Entumbane suburb was also attended by chairpersons of the association from Bulawayo, Cde Cephas Ncube, Masvingo, Cde Tendeukai Chinodeka, Matabeleland North, Cde Sonny Mguni, Mashonaland East, Cde Daniel Sigauke, Midlands, Cde Virginia Mupasu and the vice-chairman of Matabeleland South, Cde Section Ncube who all pledged their loyalty to Cde Mutsvangwa and the organisation’s patron, President Mugabe.
Addressing the gathering, former chairman Sibanda — who has been linked to Zimbabwe People First outfit led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru — said former freedom fighters should “unite” and avoid being “used”. He said they should come together with the George Mlala-aligned group as even the Mutsvangwa-led outfit was not properly ushered into the leadership of the association at the Masvingo congress after he was ousted.
“Where are we today? Where is Mlala? We allow ourselves to be used as war veterans . . . I just let things go but I could have challenged your election in court and there were lawyers volunteering to represent me for free,” he said.
He steered clear throughout the meeting from chanting the ruling party slogans. and even seemingly suggested that they should not stick to Zanu-PF but consider other groups with the same ideology. “Lobengula did not have a party, Nehanda did not have a party but they were people defending their people . . .”
Various speakers from the association chanted “down with G40’’ with the War Veterans Association secretary-general, Cde Victor Matemadanda criticising the Zanu-PF Politburo saying it has become a “disciplinary Politburo” and attacking Zanu-PF Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere for expulsions of party members claiming it has become a “party for firing not hiring”. He claimed Senator Masuku was in a difficult situation in the party.
“You are under crossfire but don’t worry the fire is temporary,” said Cde Matematanda. “We know it is about a woman being in the Presidium . . . Zanu-PF was born out of Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu and we had a woman from Zanu-PF Teurai Ropa (Mujuru) now it would have to be Zapu. I am diagnosing your problem. You are senior, that is your sin,” he said, directing his remarks to Cde Masuku.
Speaking at the same gathering, Cde Masuku said she was “praying for peace in Zimbabwe”. She said she was worried about the Unity Accord forged between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu in 1987. Cde Masuku said those against unity would fail in their efforts.
“I stand for the truth,” she said amid applause. “If you like me, like me for standing for the truth.” She said it was not up to people to decide now if one is a war veteran. “You don’t get voted to be a war veteran,” said Cde Masuku.
Speaking at the same gathering, Cde Mutsvangwa said he has no qualms with the association’s patron, President Mugabe but some people surrounding him. “I have no issues with the patron,” he said. Cde Mutsvangwa said as a “party for the people” they would not allow solving problems by throwing out of party members “including young people” instead of correcting them.
The war veterans leader said he would work for the economic empowerment of the former freedom fighters. Cde Mutsvangwa said he would “strive to make successful businesspeople out of comrades”. He said they were prepared to meet their patron and discuss their problems.