Sydney Kawadza Senior Reporter
President Mugabe on Tuesday told Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube he had not named his successor as that was the prerogative of Congress.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Minister Dube dismissed solidarity demonstrations organised by a faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Associations led by Cde Mandi Chimene at the Zanu-PF headquarters yesterday calling for Minister Dube’s resignation.
This followed statements Minister Dube made in his Makokoba Constituency in Bulawayo that there was nothing wrong with President Mugabe naming his successor.
Cde Chimene and her deputy Cde George Mlala accused the War veterans minister of going overboard saying war vets were “against what Minister Dube said”.
They further urged Minister Dube to resign and form his own party. Cde Chimene further announced that they were calling for the ouster of Minister Dube from both Government and Zanu-PF.
“His Excellency talked to me yesterday about the issue, to say, look, I am only mandated by the Constitution to choose my deputies not my successor. We should leave that to the constitution. As a trained man as I am. How would I answer? I would say, yes sir! That is all.
“I thought that was the end of the issue. As far as I am concerned the President is a respectable man.” Minister Dube said the engagement on Tuesday should put a lid to the debate triggered by his comments in Bulawayo.
President Mugabe engaged Minister Dube after the Tuesday Cabinet meeting at Munhumutapa in Harare. He said President Mugabe had answered his concerns.
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“I do not want to dwell on that problem anymore. He has said the problem of choosing his successor lies with Congress. I have just put a full stop to that issue. I am not going to discuss it anymore because my Commander-in-Chief has said so. I do not want to appear like I am raising issues against him.”
The Chimene-led faction mobilised supporters from all provinces to demonstrate “in solidarity with President Mugabe”. Minister Dube dismissed the demonstrations as dubious. He said his comments were guided by his military background. The war veterans’ minister said his statements were not political.
He further dismissed calls to have him fired from Cabinet. Minister Dube said war veterans had the right to take an interest in what happens in Zimbabwe. He said war veterans were human and would be interested in the affairs of the country.
The minister also expressed doubt over Cde Mlala’s war credentials. Secretary in the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Brigadier General (Rtd) Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi said his department was not worried by what Minister Dube said in Bulawayo.
“When the minister spoke in his constituency, Makokoba in Bulawayo, he was speaking as a politician, as a citizen and a commentator outside the protocol of the ministry.
“It is not that we have an interest in what he said. But we have an interest when a faction of the war veterans purports to speak on behalf of all war veterans,” he said.
Brig-General (Rtd) Tapfumaneyi said their interest was in the unity of war veterans. “Our main interest, the political interest, is for the war veterans to be united once again and not to be divided by those, who claim to follow Mandi Chimene or those who follow Mutsvangwa.
“We are one and we work well with the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.