The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) yesterday said it had no bone to chew with President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe, but a few individuals seeking to destroy Zanu-PF from within.
The war veterans said they were giving a chance to re-engagement efforts between them and Government, which was being spearheaded by Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, ZNLWVA chairman Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa dismissed as false, media reports that war veterans were demanding $500 000 payouts each from Government.
He said during their engagement with Rtd Col Dube, which was followed by a joint communiqué, they talked about a clique in Zanu-PF that was destroying the party. “We never discussed the First Lady of the nation. We respect her place as the wife of our President,” Mr Mutsvangwa said.
“We have no particular gripe about her regardless of what may have happened in the past. We have got issues with Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu-PF national commissar) and Prof Jonathan Moyo (secretary for Science and Technology) and we make no apologies on that.
“Those two are what we view as the main culprits in the attempted power grab. We know about the two lads and their abuse of party machinery to hound war veterans out of the party.
“We know they make statements about the most revered institutions of Zimbabwe which is the army. During our meeting with Minister Dube, we definitely discussed G40 and it was in the context of our relations with the party and we make no regrets about it.”
Mr Mutsvangwa said war veterans wanted Kasukuwere and Moyo held accountable for the corruption allegations they were facing. Moyo stands accused of siphoning more than $430 000 meant for tertiary students from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef)
Zimdef falls under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, which Prof Moyo superintends. According to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, part of the money was siphoned through shelf companies.
Kasukuwere on the other hand is under fire over the way he handled the issue of residential stands that are supposed to benefit youths, women and civil servants in Chishawasha B, Harare. More than 300 A1 farmers from the area recently demonstrated against the minister, accusing him of parceling out their land.
The national commissar is also accused of imposing a candidate (Ronald Chindedza) in the recent Norton by-election, which resulted in Zanu-PF losing the seat to an independent candidate, Mr Temba Mliswa.
Said Mr Mutsvangwa: “They have to deal with their corrupt tendencies. We now have Ministers who are preoccupied with building stadiums with cyanide elephant tusks. They need to be accountable to the membership of the party. They are not sacred cows. If they are caught with their hands in the jar, they must be taken to task.”
He said the re-engagement process being done by Minister Dube deserved a chance as he had a brief from President Mugabe. “He has an assignment before him and we will not try to pre-empt what he is doing,” Mr Mutsvangwa said.
“He is doing it in earnest, he has got a brief on what he is doing. We are taking him seriously and we will not issue statements about what he is trying to do. That is why we issued a communique jointly and he has got our goodwill and that of all the membership of the war veterans.”
He added: “There have been issues about the patron. Prior to our meeting with Minister Dube, there was a lot of grousing and ill-feelings from the war veterans about the way they were being treated in the party but when Minister Dube made the overture, we went to Masvingo and announced to the members that we are engaging. A lot of issues that people were speculating upon were laid to rest to give Minister Dube a chance to carry out his assignment. Anything being publicised to the contrary is not coming from us.”
On the alleged $500 000 payout, Mr Mutsvangwa said they were responsible freedom fighters who would never make such outrageous demands. “We dissociate ourselves from that statement,” he said.
“We do not expect that gutter journalism, particularly on matters which affect capital markets. This has an effect on the stock exchange, on the mind of an investor who is trying to bring money in the country and those in the Diaspora who are remitting money home.