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Govt in major climb down

by Staff reporter
26 Sep 2017 at 06:32hrs | Views
The government made a major climb-down yesterday, saying today's war veterans meeting, which was meant to elect a new executive for the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), was no longer elective, but a general indaba to discuss their welfare.

War Veterans ministry permanent secretary Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi said the government had no business to convene an
extraordinary congress for the former fighters. This came less than a week after he indicated that the meeting was to enable the former fighters to elect new leadership to replace the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive.

"The ministry has a right to have conversations with its clients and the association (ZNLWVA) must desist from seeing lions behind every bush. The ministry has no mandate and cannot call for an elective congress of the association. We are technocrats and deal with technical matters in the management of the affairs of war veterans," he said.

But, ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya was not letting up.

"[President Robert] Mugabe has refused growing calls for an elective Zanu-PF congress to choose his successor. His argument is that Zanu-PF is a voluntary organisation that those of us who were expelled cannot be involved in. The ZNLWVA is a private voluntary organisation that is not registered with neither the Ministry of War Veterans nor Defence, but with the Ministry of Labour as a private voluntary organisation," he said.

"If Mugabe is really sincere, he must call for a meeting of all war veterans, not this nit-picking (sic) that Tapfumaneyi is engaging. They are picking malleable individuals that they think can be manipulated for their nefarious ends. Government has no power to implement what is being demanded by the G40 faction in Zanu-PF."

Tapfumaneyi, who at the weekend, said today's meeting was for brainstorming on how "to proceed with the directive to remove those who were expelled from the party", seemed to have changed his tune yesterday.

"It is the membership of the ZNLWVA that has power to call for a congress. The ministry is not a war veterans regulatory authority and cannot call for a congress. The association has no obligation to register with us, but we cannot be stopped from talking to individual war veterans because they are our clients. We are also aware of the political directive regarding the association, but that will be implemented through a different process by those responsible," Tapfumaneyi added.

Zanu-PF politburo secretary in charge of the former fighters and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi reportedly urged the ruling party to trigger a process to remove Mutsvangwa and his team as the association's leaders. This was picked up by different leaders at the youth rally addressed by Mugabe in Bindura two weeks ago where War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube was tasked with making sure the decision was implemented.

Mutsvangwa has threatened to approach the court for an interdict to stop the process, but Tapfumaneyi argued the association represented a small percentage of all surviving ex-fighters.

"There are about 34 090 surviving war veterans and the association only represents, according to unofficial figures, just about 23% of these people. That means the other people are not represented by Mutsvangwa's lobby group," he said.

The ZNLWVA has accused Mugabe's wife Grace and Zanu-PF youth league leader Kudzanayi Chipanga of pushing Dube to defy a High Court order that recognised Mutsvangwa as the legitimate leader of the association.

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Source - newsday

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