Fungi Kwaramba 27 June 2017
HARARE – War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube is in deep trouble for
throwing his weight behind former liberation war fighters who are putting
pressure on President Robert Mugabe to name his successor in order to stop
the infighting in Zanu PF.
A liberation war icon who fought on the Zapu’s Zipra side during the war,
Dube set the cat among the pigeons by publicly backing the boisterous
ex-combatants on the hot Zanu PF succession conundrum on Sunday, courting
the wrath of the so-called loyalists who have no qualms with the status
The party itself reacted angrily to Dube’s remarks yesterday, with Zanu
PF’s spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, uncharacteristically calling the War
Veterans minister out of order.
Khaya Moyo said Dube was wrong to talk about succession, a divisive topic
in Zanu PF, and that any party member who goes against the grain on this
thorny issue must be judged offside.
“We have a constitution as a party and it lays the guidelines clearly. The
president is elected by the people at the congress. As far as we are
concerned, we have a president who was elected by the people who is a
candidate for next year’s elections and we cannot start discussing that
issue when there is no vacancy. If there is anything that should be done,
it should be done through party structures, the party constitution is very
clear on that,” said Khaya Moyo.
Yesterday, a clique of war veterans aligned to the Generation 40 (G40)
faction came guns blazing – urging Zanu PF to punish Dube for his candid
George Mlala, who has been at odds with the larger section of war veterans
that have been feuding with the Zanu PF leader, accused Dube of making
comments that contravene the party’s constitution and using the wrong
platform to raise his personal views.
“Cde Dube, senior as he is, should understand the Zanu PF constitution
better than everyone. The constitution of Zanu PF says the president of
the party is elected by no less than six provinces, according to our
constitution we will go for congress in 2019.
“There is nowhere in the constitution where it says the president should
appoint a successor as Dube is now saying. For him to say the president
must name his successor, I do not know where he is getting that.
“My advice to him is that since he sits in Cabinet and the central
committee, if he has these observations, the best platform for him is to
use the party structures or he goes straight to the central committee,”
The war veteran said instead of healing the rift among the liberation war
fighters, Dube had become an agent fomenting confusion among them.
“He is actually causing confusion. He wants to start debate on an issue
that does not need any debating. I don’t think this should come from a
minister; he must avoid at all costs debating issues of the party in
public,” said Mlala.
“He says war veterans are worried about their future, what future? It is
not war veterans who are afraid about their future but young people in
their 20s and 30s. For him to say war veterans (are concerned) about their
future is treasonous; those war veterans whom he says are worried about
their future are the same war veterans who said Mugabe behaves like a frog
that adjusts to temperature, they are the same who came up with the
“All I can say to him is please leave Cabinet and form your own party made
of war veterans and contest the elections,” added Mlala.
Zanu PF is currently sharply divided, with a camp opposed to Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, the G40 faction, involved
in a life-and-death tussle with the VP’s backers, Team Lacoste.
Of late, the name of Defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi, has also been
thrown into the hat, although the veteran politician who has consistently
served in Mugabe’s Cabinet since independence in 1980 has refused to be
drawn into the succession debate.
A large section of the former freedom fighters, who belong to the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), has been feuding
with Mugabe since they issued a damning communique against the ageing Zanu
PF leader last year.
The fallout saw ZNLWVA chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa being fired from
both Cabinet and the ruling party last year, while some of the top leaders
of the association were also banished from the imploding liberation
movement, in addition to being hauled before the courts.
Mutsvangwa’s executive has also publicly said it favours Mnangagwa to
succeed Mugabe at both government and party levels.
Yesterday, Dube stuck to his guns, saying what he said was not subversive
to warrant him to lose sleep over it.
“Nobody has come to me to complain about what I said although I know that
they are talking about it,” he said.
“It’s not subversive to say the president must groom and name a
successor,” he added.
Political analysts said while it was refreshing that the former Zimbabwe
Defence Industries boss had boldly spoken about an issue considered taboo
in Zanu PF, he was likely to be censured given the deep divisions within
the liberation movement, which is being devoured by infighting stemming
from Mugabe’s failure to name a successor.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred
Masunungure,yesterday said Dube had made a bold statement and it was
interesting to see how Mugabe would react to that.
“It is clearly unprecedented. It suggests that he does not see himself
being dependent on the job he has. It is a taboo subject that is now being
brought into the public domain.
“He is releasing the cat among pigeons. This is like a breath of fresh
air, that you have someone who can stand up and make pronouncements about
the need to discuss the succession issue.
“We know that factionalism in Zanu PF is triggered by that issue, I don’t
know how the prince will take it but many in Zanu PF are celebrating. What
is now left to see is whether he is going to be punished or not,”
Masunungure told the Daily News.
Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo at the weekend, Dube said while the
former liberation war fighters were happy with Mugabe’s leadership and
would want him to win next year’s elections, they cannot pretend as if
there can never be a future without him.
“Sometimes people don’t understand them (war veterans); for instance when
they said they are now looking at the future leadership. Some people think
they mean to say they are being disloyal to our president, no not at all.
“We respect our president. He has done so much for this country. He has
brought about land to the people who never had land. He has brought
education to our nation but they are talking about the future.
” . . . But we are saying we are very happy with our president we want him
to win the next election but eventually he will decide to retire, we don’t
know when but when that time comes that’s what the war veterans are
saying,” said Dube.
“When they (war veterans) choose some of these people, it’s not because
they are tired of our president, no, not at all, they are only
misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a president, if
you want to be but it’s people who choose you, you can’t choose yourself.
“There is nothing wrong with talking about the succession. Succession is
not a crime to talk about. This happens in every country.
“All the war veterans are saying is he (Mugabe) must groom the next
leader, whatever happens, whether he retires or anything happens to him
there is somebody we know.
“Otherwise it becomes very difficult for investors to put their money when
they don’t know whether there is going to be another (Jean-Bedel) Bokassa
(the former Central African Republic president) or Idi Amin (former
Ugandan president) coming into Zimbabwe. They want to know who is coming;
who is the next person so that when they put their money they know it’s
safe,” he added.
Mugabe has refused to name a successor, arguing that it is Zanu PF that
must decide through a congress when the time comes.