WAR Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has accused Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene of threatening to assault him for allegedly siding with a rival faction of the freedom fighters led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, before she unleashed a sangoma (witchdoctor) on him.
Dube, who was in Mutare at the weekend with Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and his permanent secretary Walter Tapfumaneyi, said Chimene — who leads a rival faction — threatened to assault him.
“While I was giving my welcoming remarks, she stood up and said she was going to beat me up. I told her if she did that, she would be arrested,” he said.
Dube said after the threats by Chimene, she unleashed a sangoma on him in an effort to intimidate him.“This happened in the full view of other dignitaries,” he said.
“So when we were leaving the venue, her sangoma started performing some rituals on me, burping uncontrollably and my wife said I should not respond, but just to tell her (Chimene) to read Psalms 23 vs 1 to 6, which says ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want and so on and so forth’. I looked at this man burping at me pitifully and I said this is the highest level of madness.”
Chimene leads a break-away faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), which is tussling for control with the Mutsvangwa-led executive.
However, her grouping has failed to get traction and she has responded by accusing Dube of taking sides with her rivals. “This sangoma tried to intimidate me, he tried to say some silly things to me while doing some silly childish rituals so that I could be intimidated, but I am not that easy,” Dube said.
“I believe in the Bible and would not allow such things to get near my life.”
He said he felt Chimene was belittling her office, although he felt insulted by her actions, particularly since he was being threatened in front of his wife.
It’s a shame that she decided to reduce herself to such levels — moving around with a sangoma and threatening to beat me up. I thought mature people could disagree peacefully without resorting to primitive actions,” Dube said.
Attempts to get a comment a comment from Chimene were fruitless, as a male person who picked up her mobile phone told NewsDay that the minister was “very busy and would only be free tomorrow (today)”.
After being told of the urgency of her comment and the story, the male receiver said: “Hey you, I said try tomorrow at 7am or maybe later, but she will still be busy.”
Sekeramayi said while he had not seen the sangoma, he had heard reports of the traditional healer at the meeting.
“The issue of a sangoma — I just heard about it because it happened when I had left the venue. I just heard that there was a sangoma, who was doing ‘hirririi tata hiriririr tata’, after I had gone. Those other issues, I have nothing to say,” he said before breaking into laughter.
“But for the violence part, to be honest, I did not hear Chimene threatening the minister.”
During the explosive meeting, war veterans drawn from Manicaland province heckled Dube and his secretary after he told them that President Robert Mugabe had given the ministry 13 vehicles to be used for co-ordination of programmes.
The former freedom fighters said they did not need cars, while others demanded the minister to sit down.
But a defiant Dube told them: “If you are not happy with what I am saying, hard luck, but this is what I am saying. Do you want me to sit down? I am not going to sit down.”
Dube urged the war veterans to be united and make it easier for the government to assist them, while also pleading with them to “pardon” each other.