WAR veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda yesterday vowed to continue boycotting First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies until she has stopped her public attacks on Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Sibanda said he was ready to defend his position and warned that real war veterans would resist attempts to stage “a bedroom or boardroom coup”.
“If you want to find me guilty of not attending the First Lady’s rallies, I plead guilty on that one and I won’t attend unless the programme changes,” he declared.
“I can’t attend a function where they say ‘pamberi ne Mazowe Crush pasi neGamatox’ that slogan is unknown in Zanu PF.
“That slogan is divisive and counter-revolutionary.”
In a hard-hitting interview, Sibanda described the slogans at Grace’s rallies as venomous and that he refused to be part of a group that insulted the vice-president, saying Zimbabweans must stand up to that.
“I don’t belong to a venomous group and until their objectives change, I won’t be part of that,” he said.
“All people should stand against that.
“You can’t belong to a group that insults a vice-president of the country.
“You can’t insult a person like that, even if you are from different political parties.”
Sibanda said it was wrong for Grace and other Zanu PF officials to publicly attack the vice-president for crimes which could have been committed by her late husband, General Solomon Mujuru.
“If President (Robert) Mugabe does wrong, I won’t insult Grace Mugabe,” he said.
“So you can’t insult Joice Mujuru because she is not Solomon Mujuru, who they accuse of all those things.
“You can’t attack MaNdlovu, my wife, because of my wrongs.”
He scoffed at reports that some war veterans were plotting to kick him out of the association for snubbing the First Lady, adding that he was currently on the ground campaigning to “block attempts to stage a coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom”.
“I won’t tell you where I am, but I am on the ground,” he said.
“I am not going to allow any coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom.”
Sibanda has been under fire from fellow war veterans for refusing to take part in Grace’s rallies and turned down an invitation to attend the First Lady’s meeting with war veterans at her Mazowe Orphanage in Mashonaland Central last Thursday.
His detractors, who identified themselves as elders of war veterans, have labelled him a “counter-revolutionary opposed to Grace”, but Sibanda dismissed the group as fictitious.
“Do you think that is worth discussing? It’s some war veterans and no one knows who they are,” he said.
“They call themselves elders of war veterans; we don’t have that in the association.
“We have a war veterans branch, district, province and national with President Robert Mugabe as our patron.”
Sibanda said he would deal with his detractors one by one at a press conference, accusing them of calling for his ouster because they had received free food.
“When our revolution was threatened, real war veterans sacrificed without support from the party and Zanu PF got a two-thirds majority.
“It excludes those people you are talking about. They were never in any campaign because like they said, they were too old.
“They only go where there is free food and just embarking on transport, where they don’t know where they are going and what their objective is.”
Meanwhile, Bulawayo war veterans have rubbished calls for Sibanda’s resignation from the “Elders of War Veterans”, saying no such group existed.
Provincial chairperson Japhet Phuthi said there was no such group within the war veterans.
“Who is George Mlala to pass a vote of no confidence to our leader. We voted for Sibanda in 2010 and we will defend him with everything in our possession,” he declared boldly.
“Who is he to cast a vote of no confidence to our president? That is null and void. They pretend to be supporting the First Lady Grace Mugabe.”
The group, claiming to be elder war veterans includes Patrick Nyaruwata from Harare, Mlala from Bulawayo Province, Nelson Chadamoyo of Mashonaland Central, George Matenda and Victor Matemadanda, both from the Midlands.