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Zanu PF: Mutsvangwa expelled but defiant war vets back their chairman
07/07/2016 00:00:00
by Anna Chibamu
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WAR veterans rallied around their beleaguered leader Christopher Mutsvangwa Thursday after he was expelled from Zanu PF as President Robert Mugabe appears to be picking off, one-by-one, a ruling faction said to be pushing for his ouster.

Charged war veterans secretary general Victor Matemadanda: “Are bank queues going to end because they have expelled Cde Mutsvangwa?”

The ex-fighters’ Mashonaland central chairman said there was now a disturbing pattern regarding Mugabe’s treatment of war veterans leaders.

“We have seen this with Chenjerai Hunzvi, Jabulani Sibanda and now Chris Mutsvangwa. There is something wrong somewhere,” he said.

Mutsvangwa, chief cheer leader for vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s succession bid, angered the 92-year-old Mugabe by publicly critising his wife Grace and rubbishing the so-called G40 faction she reportedly leads.

The war vets leader again infuriated Mugabe by organising a meeting of the former fighters in Harare which was forcibly dispersed by the police using teargas and water cannons, leading to Mutsvangwa’s ouster from cabinet and suspension from Zanu PF.

But the last straw appeared to have been a meeting of the war veterans leadership in Gweru where they declared Mnangagwa the sole succession candidate, prompting a frothing Mugabe to warn that the former fighters' mischief could trigger a second Gukurahundi.

A meeting of the Zanu PF politburo this week confirmed Mutsvangwa’s expulsion from the ruling party along with 13 youth leaders over indiscipline charges.

“One member was dismissed because his behaviour had actually become worse after his suspension,” said party administration secretary Ignatius Chombo in reference to Mutsvangwa.

NewZimbabwe.com was told that at Wednesday’s politburo, Mutsvangwa was also accused of helping organize the violent protests at the Beitbridge border post where a warehouse belonging to tax collector Zimra was set on fire.

Meanwhile, the former war veterans minister’s colleagues vowed to block any attempts to remove him as national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA).

Zanu PF has lost direction

The association’s provincial chairmen met in Harare Thursday to discuss Mutsvangwa’s expulsion from the ruling party.


National spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said the association would not recognize “the purported expulsion” and stands by their Chairman.

“There is no going back on this issue,” he said.

“How did they get to such a conclusion, and what indiscipline are they talking about? If they can expel Chris, they want to expel all war vets but it is impossible because we are here to stay.

“Our blood is at the base of the Zimbabwean Flag; and for it (Zimbabwe) to have that flag, it is us war vets who did it. Chris will, therefore, continue leading us despite what others would like to claim.”

Masvingo war veterans Chairman Tendeukai Chinooneka said his province was in solidarity with Mutsvangwa.

“We are behind Chris and we are revolutionaries for life,” Chinooneka said.

One Ncube from Bulawayo Rural added: “As Bulawayo Province, we want to put it on record that Cde Chris Mutsvangwa was elected by our Congress and will only be removed by that Congress.”

Harare provincial Chairman John Guta said they were “saddened and disappointed by the latest action”.

“Zanu PF has lost direction and needs a total overhaul rather than mere jockeying for power as it is infested with corrupt members who have caused the economic challenges we face today.”

However, Secretary General Victor Matemadanda said the association had since “developed shock absorbers”.

“We never deserted the cause even after camp massacres and that scenario now and we will never surrender.

“Chris speaks his mind and others feel threatened by his presence in the political arena. After all, we do not need a Zanu PF card.

“We fought during the struggle without a card, won the war without a card and also won elections without a card.”

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