HARARE – Members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) besieged the Zanu PF headquarters yesterday, demanding the removal of ex-Cabinet ministers assigned to the “Shake-Shake Building” to run the party’s affairs on a full time basis.
A group of former liberation war fighters, led by ZNLWVA’s Mazowe district chairperson Efanos Mudzimunyi, descended on the party headquarters around mid-morning yesterday pushing for the ouster of Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, finance secretary Patrick Chinamasa, secretary for health David Parirenyatwa, former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and party administrator Dixon Dzora.
Other officials targeted by the boisterous war veterans include Munyaradzi Machacha, the leader of the Chitepo Ideological College, who is accused of staffing the college with elements aligned to the Generation 40 (G40) faction, annihilated by the military when it ousted Robert Mugabe in November last year.
The ex-combatants sensationally claimed that the beleaguered party honchos were undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa and engaging in corrupt activities. They made a beeline into the ruling party’s headquarters intending to confiscate keys to Mpofu and Dzora’s offices, but found them under tight lock and key. They later trooped into the party’s conference room to deliberate on their next course of action. ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, who is among the officials assigned to work full time for the party, was at the Zanu PF headquarters when the drama occurred.
Mudzimunyi told the Daily News yesterday that the war veterans would want to see listed senior officials relieved of their party duties. “….there are people on this list who are engaging in corrupt activities thereby digging a trench that we feel is meant to trap out president hence we want them out as soon as possible,” he said, adding that Zimbabweans have had enough of corruption. “Our people are suffering; there is no fuel, prices of basic goods are going up every day while these people are here seated and doing nothing. All they do is (to) plot against the president to advance their agenda. “They should be reminded that Zanu PF is a big fish that cannibalises other fish. It is not an individual’s property, it is the people who are called Zanu PF not the leadership so these people must just go and pave way for this country to prosper. It is now 38 years of economic deterioration because of such individuals in the party and we are saying we are fed up and cannot continue with people sabotaging the president,” Mudzimunyi said.
Contacted for comment, Mahiya said he was unaware of what was taking place. “I am actually going out to look for fuel and I don’t even know what is happening,” Mahiya said. Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told the Daily News yesterday that as the mouthpiece of the war veterans, Mahiya should know what his colleagues were up to. “If Mahiya does not know then who should know? I am not (the) war veterans’ spokesperson so it is him who should confirm if they are bona fide members of the ZNLWVA. Maybe they are not war veterans after all,” Khaya Moyo said.
The former combatants of the country’s guerrilla war of liberation fought in the 1970s and ended with independence from Britain in 1980 have previously issued a petition pleading with Mnangagwa to give named party officials their marching orders. In the petition, which was addressed to Zanu PF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and signed by war veterans representatives from 10 provinces, the former fighters accused Mpofu and others of sabotaging Mnangagwa’s efforts to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
At the height of the factional fights that erupted in Zanu PF over Mugabe’s succession, ZNLWVA members backed Mnangagwa against the G40 faction which was doing the bidding for former first lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her 94-year-old husband. Mugabe had harshly punished the association’s executive through expulsions from the ruling party and government only for ZNLWVA to emerge even stronger after the military stepped in mid November last year through an operation that vanquished G40 and hoisted Mnangagwa into the top office in the land. Mnangagwa narrowly avoided a run-off against MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in the July 30 polls after registering a 50,6 percent victory. Chamisa has, however, refused to concede defeat saying the election result was manipulated in favour of Mnangagwa.
Although the Constitutional Court dismissed Chamisa’s electoral challenge, the post-poll ructions have muddied the waters for the Zanu PF leader, who was hoping to gain domestic, regional and international support which is critical in turning around the country’s fortunes. The result has been a biting economic meltdown that has now resulted in finger-pointing among Zanu PF cadres who not so long ago fought on the same side to depose Mugabe and his G40 backers.