War veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa remained defiant yesterday in the face of his expulsion from Zanu PF, while his colleagues in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) described the ruling party politburo decision as “ill-informed”.
Mutsvangwa told NewsDay that his relationship with Zanu PF had “become burdensome”.
“To be frank, the relationship had become burdensome to me, a real albatross in these times. In a way, I am just glad that the party divested me of it. It is now up to the association and its membership. I serve at their will,” Mutsvangwa said.
And in typical style he signed off: “This is the moment of stark choices between the populace at large or serving a vapid and vacuous Zanu PF party political oligarchy that is devoid of history, morals and probity. As a war-hardened battlefield veteran, I instinctively and invariably go with the people.”
Following a ZNLWVA national executive meeting in Harare yesterday, spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told NewsDay that the former freedom fighters had been “shocked, angered and saddened by the expulsion”.
“We woke up to very sad news today and have been forced back to Jabulani Sibanda’s expulsion and the relationship our leadership had with former chairman Chenjerai Hunzvi. After introspection, we have realised that at any given time any person leading the freedom fighters has not had the best of relationships with authorities. It is disheartening and saddening. But Mutsvangwa is not going anywhere,” Mahiya declared.
He said all the association’s 10 provinces represented by their chairmen had rallied behind Mutsvangwa.
“He will continue to fight for the welfare of war veterans. We take cognisance of the fact that today, July the 7th, is exactly three months since our meeting with President (Robert) Mugabe. And now we wonder whether the demands we made have been lumped on Mutsvangwa. To us, the decision smacks of divisiveness and vindictiveness that is unnecessary,” Mahiya said.
He said by expelling Mutsvangwa, the Mugabe-chaired Zanu PF had effectively expelled the 36 000-strong former fighters.
“The only thing they can expel from the party is Mutsvangwa’s physical being, but the spirit in him remains the same as the one in all 36 000 living veterans of the liberation struggle. Our loyalty and patriotism remains unshaken. Today, the party and government continue to tell us that Zimbabwe remains under sanctions because even though the European Union has removed everyone else from their list, President Mugabe and his family remain there,” an angry Mahiya said.
He added: “It is the same as with us. The fact that they have decided to expel Mutsvangwa, our chairman, means they have effectively cut the rest of us from the party. But they should know that we did not join this party and, therefore, our membership is lifetime and cannot be revoked.”
Mahiya said the war veterans would ask for a meeting with Mugabe and the ruling party’s secretary for war veterans, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.
“We will seek audience with them to understand where this is coming from. We think it is either the President has reached this decision based on a cocktail of lies by our traditional enemies or he is misinformed or ill-advised,” Mahiya said.
Author: Richard Chidza
Source: News Day