Rival warvets groups invoke Mugabe’s name

FEUDING Bulawayo war veterans’ factions have roped in President Robert Mugabe in their bid to control provincial structures, claiming they both have the support of the ageing Zanu PF leader.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

A faction led by George Mlala accuses the Bulawayo war veterans’ executive led by Cephas Ncube of being illegitimate, despite the fact that it was endorsed by War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.

The Ncube-led executive denies the charge, and accuses the Mlala faction of being “bogus troublemakers” who wanted to create parallel structures in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA).

The Mlala faction has in the past, held protests and disturbed meetings called by the Ncube executive which were attended by Mutsvangwa.

However, a Saturday war veteran’s inter-district meeting went ahead without incident.

In separate interviews, Mlala and Ncube accused each other of abusing Mugabe’s name in their battle for the control of Bulawayo province, after claiming to have the support of the country’s leader.

“Every time when they want to cause chaos and divisions in the association, they tend to abuse the President’s name and claim to have his support. We know Mlala is not a member of the association, and is bogus, but wants to abuse the President’s name in his illegal activities,” Ncube said in a telephone interview.

“We will expose him for what he is. He should stop abusing the President’s name in his fight for control of Bulawayo. Mlala is nothing and irresponsible and we do not want to waste our time fighting him. He is, after all, a deserter and cannot claim to be a war veteran.”

Mlala, however, hit back, accusing Ncube’s executive of being hard-headed, and refusing to be guided by the President.

He also said that Ncube was too junior to claim to be “a serious war veteran to talk about”.

“We are not amused the illegitimate Ncube executive called an illegal meeting yesterday (Saturday). They are just defiant. They defy the leadership and we cannot work with people who defy the political leadership,” Mlala shot back.

“They are refusing to be guided by the President and allow fresh elections to be held to elect a legitimate leadership. We are busy consulting with the political leadership and war veterans on the way forward to correct this situation. We cannot allow these people to continue misleading war veterans.”

Victor Matemadanda, War Vets secretary general

Reports yesterday said ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda urged war veterans to be wary of “troublemakers” like Mlala and his faction.

He reportedly also warned Zanu PF would find the going tough towards the 2018 general elections if the ruling party continued to expel party members along factional grounds.

Most of those expelled in Zanu PF face accusations of being loyal to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who was fired on charges of plotting to topple Mugabe.

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