Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube has implored war veterans to close ranks and urged those who have rebelled to ask for forgiveness from their patron, President Mugabe.
Rtd Col Dube also thanked President Mugabe for appointing him and said he would execute his duties with due diligence and without disappointing.
The minister was speaking at Highlanders Club House in Bulawayo on Sunday where he held his appointment party.
He said he was going to work hard to ensure that war veterans spoke with one voice.
“However, my greatest wish is to see my comrades come together as one. It is not easy to administer their welfare when they are in groups or divided. There is no difference in their ideology except in their leadership,” Rtd Col Dube said.
He said it was of no use for freedom fighters to continue squabbling on issues that can be resolved.
“Remember one Russian phrase says, ‘A thousand friends are too few, one enemy is one too many’, it is not fair to injure your comrade’s feeling,” Rtd Col Dube said.
The minister said war veterans who insulted the First Family should come to their senses and apologise as President Mugabe was a forgiving leader.
“I urge those that have some issues to start by making an apology to their patron, his Excellency R.G. Mugabe. I know that he is a Christian and he will accept their apologies. In our African culture we never challenge the authority or decisions of an elder, let alone demonise him,” said Rtd Col Dube.
“Even in England, I have been to Hyde Corner where people say anything they want, I have never heard them insult their Queen. The First Lady is also a motherly respectable woman not what we usually read about her on the social media and some sections of the media.”
He spoke about his liberation war credentials, stating that he trained veteran freedom fighters including the country’s Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
Rtd Col Dube said he also trained some of the country’s decorated army generals such as the late Solomon Mujuru.
Other people who served under his command include Matabeleland North Provincial Minister Cde Cain Mathema.
The minister said he commanded an alliance camp called Kalewa which housed Zipra officers and Umkhonto We Sizwe members.
Rtd Col Dube said he was later sent to Russia where he pursued engineering at master’s level.
He said he worked with the likes of Cdes Lookout Masuku, Jevan Maseko and Dumiso Dabengwa.
Rtd Col Dube also headed several departments in the Zimbabwe National Army and was the head of the Zimbabwe Defence Industries for 23 years.