War vets, President indaba: Sekeramayi sticks to guns

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Another preparatory meeting of war veterans scheduled for Thursday, ahead of a meeting with their patron President Mugabe on April 7, will proceed as planned and those unhappy with the composition of members to the meeting are free to stay away, the Zanu-PF Secretary for the Welfare of War Veterans, Detainees and Restrictees, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, said yesterday.

Dr Sekeramayi, who is also Defence Minister, said Thursday’s meeting would proceed as planned. “Yes, we are going to have that meeting on Thursday where we will update each other on how far we have gone with preparations for the meeting with the President,” said Dr Sekeramayi.

“We were given the mission to organise a meeting between war veterans and the President and anyone who does not want to come and attend Thursday’s meeting is free to do so.” The first preparatory meeting was held on March 23 where it was agreed that the meeting with President Mugabe was strictly for liberation fighters.

Dr Sekeramayi said the April 7 engagement between the President and war veterans would be a frank discussion touching mainly on the welfare of the freedom fighters. Thursday’s meeting will bring together members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, service chiefs and members of the inter-ministerial committee tasked to organise the meeting with the President.

Other ministries involved in the preparation of the April 7 meeting include Home Affairs and Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators,Ex-Detainees and Restrictees. Asked on the alleged vote of no confidence passed on Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and other Politburo members by some war veterans in Chinhoyi recently, Dr Sekeramayi said:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the only constitutional authority in this country with powers to appoint or dismiss members of the executive is the President.” He said such actions were tantamount to disrespecting the authority of the President.

Dr Sekeramayi said executive appointments were different from cases where votes of no confidence were passed on certain individuals by their respective provinces where their cases have to go through the National Disciplinary Committee that would in turn propose recommendations for consideration to the Politburo.

Thursday’s meeting comes hot on the heels of protests by a section of war veterans led by Cde Mandiitawepi Chimene over the inclusion of Cde Chris Mutsvangwa. Cde Mutsvangwa is the chairman of the ZNLWVA, but Cde Chimene and her group claimed that they had suspended Cde Mutsvangwa with her taking over as interim chair.

The High Court last month barred Cde Chimene from masquerading as the interim chairperson of the war veterans. However, she is on record as saying she would defy the court ruling.

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