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Tshinga Dube, Mlala tiff escalates

by Staff reporter
19 Jul 2017 at 14:20hrs | Views
The infighting over President Robert Mugabe's succession has widened divisions among the country's boisterous liberation war fighters, with high-profile war veterans - Tshinga Dube and George Mlala - escalating their tiff this week.

Of late, Dube - the War Veterans minister - has been trading tirades with Mlala, who belongs to a faction of the ex-guerrilla war fighters that is battling for the control of the main Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), led by Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Mlala and his faction of the war veterans, led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene, were barred by the courts from masquerading as leaders of the ZNLWVA after they had passed a vote of no confidence in its leadership.

Regardless, they have been exchanging harsh words with the ZNLWVA's leadership, which they accuse of undermining Mugabe's authority.

Mutsvangwa and his executive have not made it a secret that they prefer one of Mugabe's deputies, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to succeed the Zanu-PF leader in the event that he retires from active politics.

They have even removed Mugabe as patron of the association.

Dube, as the War Veterans minister, has been dragged into the imbroglio.

Initially, Dube had attempted to bring the warring factions together, but when that failed, he began to speak out strongly against Mlala and Chimene for not recognising Mutsvangwa as the legitimate leader of ZNLWVA.

He is now being seen by Mlala's grouping as backing Mutsvangwa's leadership of the ZNLWVA and, by extension, in support of Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions.

Mlala is now threatening to sue Dube for accusing him of externalising funds, a serious offence under the country's exchange control regulations.

Dube accused Mlala of externalisation during a meeting at his Makokoba constituency last weekend, where he was addressing former freedom fighters, challenging Mlala to sue him, if he was disputing the accusation.

"There is a big man here called Mlala. He wants me fired from being a minister . . . Mlala has given himself power to expel me (but) he doesn't have that power," Dube told the gathering.

He alleged that Mlala was conniving with a company owned by a national from Pakistan to externalise funds totalling about $6 million in 2014.

Dube said the duo would import rotten foodstuffs; preserve them using dangerous and cancerous chemicals and repackage them before reselling the products at cheap prices. The proceeds, he alleged, were then externalised.

"That's where our money is being taken. I can say a lot about this but they were also dealing with street foreign currency dealers. At one point they brought seven 30-tonne trucks carrying cooking oil, they ran away from Zimra without paying anything at customs."

Zimra is the acronym for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, government's tax-collecting arm.

This has not gone down well with Mlala, who now wants to haul the War Veterans minister to court.

"I will definitely do that (sue Dube)," Mlala told the Southern News.

"I will take him to court. I want him to show me the evidence. Tshinga is sick, what is it that he is saying? If he has evidence it's good and the Pakistan he is talking about is alive, he will be there to be the witness in court," he fumed.

Mlala questioned Dube's motive of preferring to say such at a Makokoba rally, yet he was well positioned to know the procedures of handling issues to do with crime.

"Honestly, if he knows of such crimes, he should have made a police report instead of saying this at a rally, and investigations would have been done, not this nonsense, he is talking about," he said.

"I am wondering if the rally was all about externalisation of money or what, because he should talk to me about war veterans' issues and not about Pakistanis.

"Tshinga is now desperate because of his recent utterances that we are strongly opposed to, so he is trying to cover his back," he said.

Dube and Mlala's row escalated after the War Veterans' minister suggested that Mugabe names a successor to avoid possible chaos in the event of his death or retirement, while he also backed ex-liberation fighters who were making the same demands.

"The people that he is supporting were expelled from the party and, as you know, as the war veterans association we are affiliated to the party, so when he associates himself with Mutsvangwa and company it means he has defected.

"As a result, if he wants to talk about the association as a minister, he should step down first because he is biased and he can't represent the wishes and needs of the former liberators. He is not fit to run that ministry because he is causing unnecessary confusion," Mlala said.

Mlala and his group have also come under attack from their rivals for staging demonstrations against Dube.

Their rivals have been alleging that the demonstration staged in Harare was sponsored by Gweru businesswoman Smelly Dube who denies the allegations.

Turning to the allegation that the Gweru businesswoman sponsored the demonstrations against Dube, Mlala said: " . . . where does she come in in all this, what has it to do with the association . . . and he should know that when we went to Harare for a solidarity meeting we went there as an association, which is affiliated to Zanu-PF".

He also refuted claims that they hired goons to pose as war veterans during the demonstrations.

Mlala, however, warned Dube that he should not forget that his camp will continue with their meetings in the remaining eight provinces.

Source - dailynews