President Robert Mugabe’s government has reportedly availed $3 million to the War Veterans’ ministry to wrestle control of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), NewsDay has learnt.
The fund reportedly controlled by War Veterans’ ministry permanent secretary Walter Asher Tapfumaneyi was recently put together to try and stage a coup against the Mutsvangwa executive, which has fallen out of favour with Mugabe after demanding that he steps down from power.
Yesterday, Mutsvangwa accused Mugabe of releasing nearly $3 million to Tapfumaneyi at a time the country was facing a debilitating cash shortage in an effort to lure provincial leaderships across Zimbabwe.
“To sweeten the deal he offered monies, but not from his own pockets. He dangled a slush fund of $1 million diverted from a measly $3 million from the Treasury. Here he is in his G40 grove of using the public purse to pursue petty political agendas on the sidelines of legitimate government business.”
Tapfumaneyi, however, scoffed at the allegations saying he did not have $1 million and neither was he trying to bribe anyone to follow him.
“I am not contesting to lead the ZNLWVA and I don’t look like a million dollars. I am not bribing anyone. I have not seen that communiqué and the only communiqué I know was the one which has seen them being dragged to court,” Tapfumaneyi said.
But, according to Mutsvangwa the money was released to Tapfumaneyi after convincing Mugabe that it was important to fight the war veterans.
“He had obtained the $3 million through the tested ruse of playing up on the paranoiac insecurity of the executive: the war veterans want to dethrone the party leader, they already have their own candidate for presidency in the 2018 elections,” Mutsvangwa said.
War Veterans’ minister Tshinga Dube although confirming that government released $3 million to his ministry, denied it was meant to fight the Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA executive.
“We respect Mutsvangwa’s leadership and everything we are doing as a ministry is to help his leadership deal with welfare issues that relate to his members. My secretary (Tapfumaneyi) has serious respect for him so I think the allegations are misplaced. I think he (Mutsvangwa) has been misinformed,” he said.
Mutsvangwa warned Tapfumaneyi that he would not hesitate to drag him to court if he continued fighting them.
“Should he persist, we will let the law visit him. Furthermore, we will have no alternative but to approach the Public Service Commission so they call him to order at a minimum or have him be redeployed or dismissed. He clearly is abusing his terms of appointment when he can resign and try his luck as Mandi Chimene and George Mlala did to utter failure,” Mutsvangwa said.
Dube said the money released by government was meant for school fees for children of the former combatants which was long overdue.
“We last received $6 million just before the indaba (last April’s war veterans meeting with Mugabe). This is why we had people crying over fees arrears, so we are using that $3 million to pay fees which was outstanding,” Dube said.
In a communiqué after the war veterans’ meeting in Bulawayo on Saturday, ZNLWVA leadership accused Tapfumaneyi of turning government business into a partisan issue by meddling into its affairs despite a standing High Court order endorsing the Mutsvangwa executive.
The ZNLWVA warned Tapfumaneyi to stay away from meddling in its association and targeting its leadership which was forced out of Zanu PF.
“Chairman (Mutsvangwa) condemns ‘divisionist’ Tapfumaneyi. This week, he again called for an illegal meeting of the 10 provincial chairmen of ZNLWVA ostensibly to discuss welfare issues for the neglected and impoverished war veterans members. In reality, he is angling to carry out a coup against the properly-constituted national membership,” part of the statement read.
The war veterans instead encouraged Tapfumaneyi to use the money to pay outstanding school fees arrears amounting to $1,5 million instead of politicising its intervention.
ZNLWVA said they respected Dube whom they claimed has kept his hands off Zanu PF factionalism threatening to rip the ex-fighters organisation.
Mugabe in new war vets fight
Author: Blessed Mhlanga
Source: News Day