ZIPRA ex-combatants have officially launched their own welfare association and appointed Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa as their patron, a month after breaking away from the Zanu PF-aligned Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA).
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The decision was made when ex-Zipra cadres held a meeting in Bulawayo on Sunday.
President Robert Mugabe is the patron of the ZNLWVA.
The interim executive of the association consists of Ben Ncube (chairperson), Tapson Moyo (vice), Petros Sibanda (secretary), Job Ndlovu (deputy secretary), Belinda Ndebele (treasurer) and committee members, Stanley Ncube and Clement Malaba Ncube.
“This committee’s main mandate is to set up the association’s structures in provinces and districts in preparation for the inaugural congress, where a substantive executive will be elected. The association will function and work in close association with the mother party (Zapu),” Zapu regional spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa said.
He said the name of the association would be unveiled at the congress, whose dates are yet to be announced.
Maphosa said the association comprises of ex-detainees and restrictees, ex-combatants and technocrats, who were trained by Zapu during the war of liberation
“Welfare issues of liberation fighters in their different categories will top the agenda of the association, as Zapu works at closing the ever-widening gap between society and the ex-freedom fighters in terms of social services and the economic activities at large,” he said.
“It was noted that such gaps exist as a deliberate ploy by the current government under Mugabe to always have the war veterans compromised, so that they are easily used as pawns in filthy political power games, as is currently happening in the fractious governing party.”
Last month, ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda downplayed the breaking away of Zipra ex-combatants, but was quick to urge them to join ranks with war veterans in his association to advance welfare issues of all who participated in the liberation struggle.
Fissures have developed in ZNLWVA since Mugabe rebuked the association’s chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and axed him as minister.
Manicaland Provincial minister Mandi Chimene has also laid claim to the top post in the ZNLWVA.