Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
War veterans have reaffirmed their unconditional support for President Mugabe, saying individual opinions by a few members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) should not be viewed as the national position of all freedom fighters.
They also said they would not be pressured to follow unconstitutional means to remove ZNLWVA chairman Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa from his post.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister and zanu-pf Central Committee member Cde Mandi Chimene claims to be the leader of the ZNLWVA despite a High Court order interdicting her from doing so.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube said individual opinions against President Mugabe were inconsequential.
“With regards to some war veterans that individually come out speaking ill of President Mugabe, I believe an individual’s opinion cannot be the opinion of all the war veterans.
“If you want to find out the truth, ask from other war veterans and they will definitely tell you where their support lies.
“Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but that should not be interpreted as a blanket opinion. There are many war veterans loyal to the President and they continue to be. Therefore, I don’t think it is right to hear something from one who claims to be a war veteran and paint it on all of us.”
His remarks followed media reports quoting members of the Mutsvangwa-led executive alleging that war veterans would not support President Mugabe in next year’s harmonised elections.
Rtd Col Dube said power struggles in the war veterans’ association were interfering with their work and said efforts were underway to unite the freedom fighters.
“We don’t recognise the leadership wrangle,” said Col Dube.
“What we have always said is that we respect the Constitution. Every organisation has one, so the war vets have their constitution from which they choose their leadership and those who choose themselves, we don’t respect them,” he said.
“We have to follow procedures and the constitution. We have such characters that just come up and appoint themselves as the chairman. No. We do not accept that. What we have said is that we recognise those who were elected in Masvingo.”
Rtd Col Dube said although Mr Mutsvangwa and members of his executive were expelled from the party, they were not dismissed by their war veterans constituency.
Said Rtd Col Dube: “We did not elect Mutsvangwa to be the chairman of the war veterans, so the rightful people to kick him out are the war veterans themselves.”