Zanu PF, Mash East war vets fight over commissar post

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

MARONDERA: Zanu PF officials and war veterans in Mashonaland East are at each other’s’ throats over the control of the influential position of provincial political commissar.

Two months ago, the Zanu PF commissariat department resolved that war veterans should be incorporated into the positions of chairperson or deputy chairperson and political commissar from cell to provincial structures.

This was part of the implementation of resolutions made by the party during its 2017 extra-ordinary congress.

The congress also confirmed President Emmerson Mnangagwa as first secretary and leader of the former liberation movement while endorsing his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s removal.

However, in Mashonaland East, this co-option is yet to be implemented and the former guerrilla war fighters are up-in-arms demanding that the process be concluded.

The post is currently held by Herbert Shumbamhini who is also the party’s MP for Mutoko South.

Party insiders said the Zanu PF Mashonaland East leadership led by Transport Minister, Joel Biggie Matiza, was unwilling to surrender the powerful post to the war veterans. None of the current Zanu PF provincial executive members is a war veteran.

Most Zanu PF meetings across the province in the past few months have been disrupted by war veterans who were demanding the removal of Shumbamhini as political commissar.

“The war veterans are agitated that the leadership is unwilling to follow the party’s resolutions and stand down from the political commissar post,” a Zanu PF member in the province said.

He said the impasse had seen a disruption of the ruling party’s meetings in the province especially in Marondera Central and Mutoko where Shumbamhini comes from.

However, Mashonaland East war veterans chair, Daniel Sigauke described the war veterans who were disrupting Zanu PF programmes as misguided.

“As leadership, we are dealing with the issue and those identified to be behind the disturbances will be called to order. Our position is that people who are engaged in such acts are misguided,” said Sigauke.

Last month, a group of war veterans besieged Zanu PF offices at Mutoko Centre where they locked doors and blocked party officials from gaining access in protest over the position while accusing Shumbamhini of abuse of office.

Last weekend, another Zanu PF meeting was abandoned in Mutoko after war veterans booed Shumbamhini during his address and he was forced to leave the meeting in a huff.

Matiza and Zanu PF Women’s Assembly chairperson, Senate president, Mabel Chinomona, who were present at the meeting, failed to bring the restless former fighters to order.

“The provincial leadership should know that the position of political commissar is a post reserved for war veterans and Shumbamhini should stand down. The party leadership should stop protecting him,” the Zanu PF member added.

Zanu PF Mashonaland East secretary for administration, Kudzai Majuru told the the party provincial leadership would soon meet the agitated war veterans to map a way forward.