By Anna Chibamu
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) members have unseated Christopher Mutsvangwa from the group’s helm accusing him of unprofessionalism and failure to improve their livelihoods.
During a press conference in Harare, Wednesday, the ex-fighters said they have appointed a National Interim Committee with government’s blessing.
The interim committee’s vice chair, Ethan Matibela said the last ZNLWVA elective congress was held a decade ago and Mutsvangwa’s tenure had since lapsed.
“The Association’s constitution dictates that the organization should be run and operated by an elected national executive whose mandate would last for five years and thereafter, an elective congress would be conducted.
“On several occasions the association has experienced a gross disregard of its constitutional processes, chief among them, the lack of professionalism, no functioning systems in place, undue interference, lack of accountability and no clear programmes to embark on during the life of the sitting committee,” said Matibela.
He added that despite having colleagues in government, war vets’ living conditions had continued to deteriorate and most could no longer afford decent accommodation and health care services.
“It is indeed a total embarrassment to witness the majority of veterans without access to basic healthcare services, a decent living pension and no roof over their heads they would call their own.
“This is unacceptable especially when our erstwhile colleagues are running the government of the day. They should be the first to understand the plight of the rest of the veterans of the liberation struggle because they shared trenches with us.”
Matibela commended the late former chairperson Chengerai Hunzvi for having compelled the government to give war veterans $50 000 gratuity each.
“After this payment, the association has suffered as management diverged from the core business of the private voluntary organisation’s welfare.
“The ministry advised us to create a National Interim Committee to resuscitate the association by preparing an elective congress upon which a fresh mandate will be given to a new national executive to run the affairs of the association for the next five years,” added Matibela.
Mutsvangwa, however described the move as “unbecoming”.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, he said: “I never feuded with my fellow war veterans during and after the liberation war. I am not going to feud with them now. This is unbecoming for war veterans to feud in the public domain. I will never comment on what they are saying”.