WAR veterans are fighting for control of Bulawayo province, with two factions emerging to claim control of the association’s provincial structures after accusing each other of being bogus.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
A faction led by George Mlala has accused the current provincial executive led by Cephas Ncube of being illegitimate although it was endorsed by War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.
The Ncube-led executive has, on the other hand, accused Mlala and his team of being bogus and bent on causing chaos and creating parallel structures within the war veterans’ association.
On Saturday, a national war veterans’ indaba scheduled to be held in Emakhandeni high-density suburb was cancelled at the last minute by the Joint Operations Command amid fears it could turn violent after Mlala’s faction members threatened to block Mutsvangwa from addressing them.
Mlala told Southern Eye yesterday that he did not recognise Ncube’s executive, adding the leadership was imposed on them.
“Bulawayo has not held elections as yet to elect a substantive war veterans executive. The only interim executive we recognise is the one that is led by Roy Maphosa and until such a time that we hold elections, the Ncube executive is illegitimate,” Mlala said.
“The Ncube executive cannot call us bogus. They did not attend the Masvingo congress and should go, we are sticking to the Masvingo resolutions, thus we are saying Ncube and his executive are illegitimate. Ncube is also too junior, he was not in the command structure and does not know who trained and who did not and who was deployed where and when during the liberation struggle and therefore unfit to label us as bogus.”
But Ncube insisted that his executive was the only legitimate structure in the province.
“The people who are not in the association are the same people who are causing confusion and claiming to be bona fide members.
But one thing is, they must not speak on our behalf. All they are doing is to create a parallel structure,” Ncube said.
About three months ago, a group allegedly hired by Mlala disrupted a war veterans’ meeting in Entumbane by singing derogatory songs against Mutsvangwa before clashes erupted, leaving two women injured.