HARARE – Manicaland provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has flew into a rage over plans to close war veterans’ offices in Mutare in a bid to stop her masquerading as a leader of ex-liberation war fighters.
This comes after the High Court barred Chimene from pretending to be the interim or substantive leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) after she sought the nullification of a court order that recognised Christopher Mutsvangwa as ZNLWVA’s legitimate leader.
Justice Happias Zhou also interdicted Chimene from issuing press statements on behalf of the association and its leadership.
But Chimene and her deputy George Mlala in the rival war veterans faction opposed to Mutsvangwa and his ZNLWVA leadership gathered in Harare last month where they called for President Robert Mugabe to give War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube his marching orders for declaring his support for the Mutsvangwa group which is calling on Mugabe to name his successor to quell the vicious infighting in his party.
After demonstrating against Dube, whom they said was not representing their interests when he made those controversial utterances, Chimene said they were the bona fide war veterans and were peeved by their minister’s unprecedented remarks, baying for the 76-year-old ex-guerrilla war fighter’s blood saying he was advocating for the blatant violation of Zanu PF’s constitution, which provides that the party’s first secretary and president is elected at congress, held after every five years.
Zanu PF had its last congress in 2014, where Mugabe was re-elected unopposed, earning an automatic ticket to stand in the 2018 polls as its presidential candidate.
The next congress is due in 2019, when Mugabe will be 95 years old.
The Mutsvangwa-led group was not amused with the move, and was now mooting shutting down the Mutare war veterans offices in a bid to silence Chimene.
They also contend that Chimene was acting in contempt of court by continuing to purport that she represents former freedom fighters
“It’s a desperate effort by the Mutsvangwa group to intimidate us and force us into believing in their political thinking but that won’t happen,” Chimene told the Daily News yesterday.
“If they take the law into their own hands, the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
“Their tactics won’t take away the war veteran in me and I’m going to continue attending war vets functions when I’m invited.
“I’m also a minister so I attend in that capacity. We cannot be forced into thinking politically like them,” she added.
After the protest against him, Dube said Chimene and Mlala had no say in the appointment of ministers as it was Mugabe’s prerogative.
“I don’t think the president is told by Chimene and Mlala to hire and fire. I was appointed by the president; if he thinks I am not doing my job well he will fire me,” he said.
“That’s wishful thinking, their suggestions don’t carry any weight. I have no respect for them.
“I never heard anyone who was appointed by Chimene and Mlala to be a minister.
“War veterans are like any other people they have the right to say something about the future of the country.
“We are also interested in the future of our country as war veterans,” he said.