From George Maponga in Masvingo
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association provincial leadership in Masvingo has dismissed the alleged vote of no-confidence in their leader Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka as a nullity and expressed confidence in the leadership of national chairperson Cde Chris Mutsvangwa.
The association lashed out at a group of war veterans from the province led by ex-war veterans Masvingo provincial chair Cde Isaiah Muzenda for claiming to have passed a no-confidence vote in Cde Chinooneka’s leadership when they had no locus standi to do so.
Speaking during an emergency meeting attended by over 50 Masvingo war veterans provincial and district executive leaders held at the Chiefs’ Hall yesterday, the ex-freedom fighters said Cde Mutsvangwa remained their national chairperson, and that those calling for him to step down were “divisionists” and power hungry people bent on weakening the war veterans association and eventually the ruling Zanu-PF party.
The move by the war veterans association in Masvingo followed claims made by a group of war veterans from the province led by Cde Muzenda, who told our sister paper the Chronicle on Tuesday that they had passed a vote of no-confidence in Cde Chinooneka and wanted Cde Mutsvangwa to step down.
The group said Cde Mutsvangwa was supposed to step down for aligning himself with ousted former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda while Cde Chinooneka was accused of allegedly participating in an unsanctioned meeting meant to demonstrate against President Mugabe in Harare.
The meeting was allegedly called by Cde Mutsvangwa.
However, Cde Chinooneka rubbished Cde Mutsvangwa’s ouster as a nullity saying leaders were not elected and removed from office through newspapers.
Cde Chinooneka, who was flanked by his secretary-general Cde Benjamin Nyaweda and political commissar Cde Silas Ndlovu, said Cde Muzenda and his team had no right to pass the vote of no-confidence as they were not members of the provincial executive.
“I do not know most of the guys who passed the so-called vote of no-confidence. People cannot just mushroom from nowhere and say they have passed a vote of no-confidence on someone. That is nonsense. We do not know them, and they have never attended even a single war veterans’ meeting,” he said.
“These are power-hungry individuals. Why did they rush to newspapers? Are leaders elected by newspapers? What is shocking is that we do not even known where they held their meeting which passed the so-called vote of no-confidence. We have the entire provincial and district executive members of the war veterans association here and none of their names appear, so it is clear they are just power hungry people,’’ he added.
Cde Nyamweda weighed in and accused Cde Muzenda and his group of being “divisionists” bent on confusing war veterans.
“These people (Cde Muzenda and his team) are divisionists who are trying to hijack the revolution. We do not want divisions within the war veterans association. They are bogus people trying to sow seeds of confusion within war veterans,’’ he said.
The provincial war veterans’ secretary -eneral said those who were against Cde Mutsvangwa were supposed to remove him legally, through a vote.
“Those people who are disassociating themselves from Cde Mutsvangwa are in other words saying they are not war veterans because he was voted into office by war veterans and any member of the war veterans association who wants to remove him should do so through a vote,’’ added Cde Nyamweda.
He also accused Cde Muzenda and his team of trying to smear Cde Chinooneka and his executive by falsely claiming that they were against President Mugabe and the First Family.
“The President is our patron and he is our Commander-in-Chief and some of us were in Zanla during the liberation struggle, and we never wavered from supporting him up to this day.
“We cannot support the President and then fail to support his family, that is not possible. But we know there are some opportunists who actually pretend to love the President when they do not,’’ added Cde Nyamweda.
War veterans’ national political commissar Cde Francis Nando, who also attended the meeting, threw his weight behind Cde Chinooneka as the war veterans chairman in Masvingo saying infighting in Zanu-PF was causing problems within the ex-freedom fighters’ body.
“There is nothing like that (vote of no-confidence in Cde Chinooneka). We do not even know where their so-called meeting was held. Three people cannot meet in a beerhall and thereafter rush to the Press and say we have passed a vote of no-confidence in so and so,’’ he said.
Reached for comment, Cde Muzenda maintained that Cde Chinooneka was ousted saying an interim provincial executive for Masvingo war veterans would be swept into office soon, without elaborating.