THE WAR of words between Zanu PF, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa and former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda seems to be escalating, after war veterans secretary-general Victor Matemadanda on Tuesday attacked the two accusing them of vilifying the two newly-appointed vice-presidents.
But Dabengwa and Sibanda said Matemadanda a Zanu PF central committee member is a fraud who spoke nonsense.
Speaking to war veterans in Zvishavane Matemadanda said he wanted to explain the circumstances leading to Sibanda’s ouster. He said topical issues he wanted to touch on were reports in the private media attacking vice-presidents Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“Topical issues are what we have been hearing from opposition newspapers castigating VP Mphoko; that is Dabengwa and others,” Matemadanda said.
“Some are saying VP Mnangagwa cannot hold this office because he was Security minister.
“They seem not to know that a minister cannot have an individual authority to decide on ministerial issues.”
Mnangagwa was the Security minister during Gukurahundi, a genocide that is estimated to have claimed more than 20 000 lives in the Midlands and Matabeleland.
Matemadanda said Dabengwa was one of the senior PF Zapu officials who constituted members who deliberated on the Unity Accord and at its signing, he was appointed to a senior ministry.
“Had it not that he went away and formed his own party, he could have been appointed one of the vice-presidents,” he said.
Matemadanda said those complaining over Mphoko and Mnangagwa’s appointments should live with it, as the two were not going anyway.
He claimed that President Robert Mugabe had appointed the two in consultation with the party’s central committee and Dabengwa must shut up.
But Dabengwa brashly said he was not Matemadanda’s peer and would not respond to him.
“His peers will respond to his remarks, call Jabulani Sibanda and others, maybe they can answer what he is saying not me,” he said dismissively.
Dabengwa seems to have touched a raw nerve in Zanu PF after he responded to Mphoko’s jibe that he was wasting his time.
While the Zapu leader was responding to an attack on himself and his party, Zanu PF and the State media have tried to portray Dabengwa as the aggressor.
Matemadanda also attacked Sibanda, saying he had misled people when he said they would march to State House to seek audience with Mugabe. He said Sibanda took advantage of civilians’ ignorance and misled them about the march, which he described as blasphemy.
“Sibanda cannot have the power to march to the State House, he took advantage of the civilians and we will never allow that to happen again,” Matemadanda said.
“In the Bible it is called blasphemy and if someone claps in approval with the likes of Didymus Mutasa in attendance that is really bad.”
Sibanda refused to be drawn into a war of words with Matemadanda.
“I don’t have to comment on what he says because he was just talking nonsense,” he said.
“I don’t even know which word can describe what he is, he is just a fraud.”
Sibanda was expelled from Zanu PF and arrested after he described the rise of First Lady Grace Mugabe as akin to a “boardroom or bedroom coup”.