THE BULAWAYO branch of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWA) has been thrown into fresh turmoil, with members allegedly pushing for acting provincial chairperson Japhet Phuthi’s ouster.
Phuthi took over the reins in June following the death of chairman Themba Ncube.
Yesterday he told an emergency meeting of war veterans at Entumbane Hall that the association was hard hit by factionalism and members wanted him to step down.
“We are coming from elections and we know some of us here were working with the opposition,” he said. “That is wrong. These are the same people who are saying Phuthi must step down.
“If the comrades want me to step down I will do so.”
The former fighters are aligned to the ruling Zanu PF party.
Phuthi said war veterans were wallowing in poverty because they spent most of their time “gossiping” rather than seeking information that would empower them.
“Are you aware that the War Veterans Act empowers us in many ways, but we are not benefiting from it,” he said. “Our children are attending poor schools. Why? It is because some of us spend time gossiping, plotting to remove Phuthi.”
The war veterans had demanded an audit of the association’s assets saying several properties such as tractors, motorbikes and fridges could not be accounted for.
“Where is the property that was donated to the association, some of it when (late ZNLWA chairperson Chenjerai) Hunzvi was alive?
“We want the executive to call another meeting and provide us with an inventory of all property donated to us.
“If you fail to do that satisfactory, we will expose you,” a war veteran who only himself identified as Ndebele, said.
He said the missing property was threatening to tear the association apart.
Phuthi said an audit of donations made to the association should be made urgently to account for the missing property.
“Those motorbikes were never used by comrades,” he said. “You were campaigning on foot, where are the motorbikes?”
ZNLWA has over the years battled factionalism amid accusations that the leadership was corrupt. Jabulani Sibanda is the national chairman of the association.