The leadership of a war veterans faction led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandiitawepi Chimene is an enemy of Zanu-PF and the liberation struggle, the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube said yesterday.
Addressing hundreds of war veterans at Stanley Square in Bulawayo’s Makokoba suburb yesterday, Rtd Col Tshinga said Chimene’s deputy George Mlala was a “corrupt thief of the highest order and the devil’s incarnate.”
He alleged Mlala was extorting cash from a businessman in the city for “protection” and externalising much needed foreign currency.
Rtd Col Tshinga scoffed at Chimene’s group, saying his ministry did not recognise the faction because it was not elected.
“The faction led by Cdes Mandi Chimene and George Mlala mobilised people and transported them to Harare where they even booked street kids at Rainbow Towers Hotel so that they demonstrate against me on false claims that I insulted the President. They elected themselves as war veterans and now they are fighting me because I refused to recognise their faction,” he said.
The emotionally charged minister took a swipe at Mlala, saying he was a mercenary and enemy of Zanu-PF working towards destroying the party.
“He (Mlala) is working against the party and war veterans. He is destroying the party in Bulawayo and he even had the guts to impose himself as the party’s provincial secretary of security yet we know how corrupt he is. He is a thief of the highest order and a devil incarnate. There is only one war veterans association in the country not this group led by Cdes Chimene and Mlala,” he said.
“If you want to form your own association, you can go ahead and do that. We don’t want mercenaries.”
Early this month war veterans from the Chimene faction held a meeting at the Zanu-PF’s Bulawayo provincial headquarters Davies Hall where they demanded the ouster of Rtd Col Dube from Government after he said President Mugabe should either groom or name a successor.
There was commotion and near skirmishes as war veterans from Chimene faction “passed a vote of no confidence” against Rtd Col Tshinga Dube.
At one time proceedings were disrupted after a group of youths led by Magura Charumbira stormed the hall. The youths later fled after the tyres of the car they were travelling in were deflated.
The war veterans said Rtd Col Dube did not deserve to be a minister representing them after he said President Mugabe should name a successor. President Mugabe has since engaged Rtd Col Dube and made it clear that only the Zanu-PF congress had the responsibility of electing the party leader.
Rtd Col Dube, speaking at Stanley Square yesterday, accused Mlala of working in cahoots with a Pakistani businessman in Bulawayo to externalise foreign currency.
“He is working with a Pakistan businessman who owns a company that smuggles and packages rice, mealie-meal which is rotten. They then externalise profits to Pakistan through Botswana.
“I have documents, which reveal all these corrupt tendencies. In October 2014, the Pakistani businessman externalised $4 million and Mlala approached him and he was given $30 000 protection fee. Uyahamba ayethatha imali okuthiwa yokuvala umphumelo. Uyenza into zokuganga lo ndoda (He takes protection money. This man is corrupt),” he said.
He dared Mlala to challenge him on the allegations, saying he would meet him in court with the evidence.
Rtd Col Dube said although war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa was expelled from the Government and party, he remained the national chairman of the war veterans association.
“This faction led by Chimene is accusing me of working with Mutsvangwa. I am not the one who elected him but it is them through their congress.
It is not my ministry which chooses the leadership of war veterans.
“President Mugabe did not kick Mutsvangwa from his position in the war veterans association and if you don’t want him use the proper channels just like what you did when you removed Jabulani Sibanda,” he said.