Maxwell Tapatapa and Trust Freddy
All is set for the district elections of the Zanu PF War Veterans League being held today across the country, with only Masvingo Province postponing their polls until tomorrow.
Zanu PF National Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha told a press conference in Harare yesterday that the weekend polls marked a historic moment for the party.
The new War Veterans League is a party wing for war veterans who are also party members and allows them to bring their concerns to the top table in the party and participate in directly setting the party policy.
“This is historic that we are setting up the war veterans structures for the first time and then moving on to a point where we will establish the national executive committee for the War Veterans League,” said Cde Bimha
“This weekend we will be conducting district elections.
“By district elections we are talking of party districts, we are not referring to the administrative districts. We will be having elections for the party districts throughout the country.
“These party districts will then be able to establish the 40 positions for the war veterans structure at that level and the electoral college consists of all vetted war veterans in that particular party district.
“We do have registers that have been put together which contain a list of all war veterans in a particular district, but they will also be bringing their cards as war veterans for purposes of identification.
“We are also saying those eligible to participate are war veterans who are members of Zanu PF.”
Cde Bimha said from the elected officials, the party will take nominations to contest at the next level, with five from each district in the provincial structures.
“At that level, we will also be able to call for nominations for those war veterans who will now be considered for positions at the provincial level and for that to happen we will be asking the admin districts to come up with nominations of five members who will then proceed to the province,” he said.
“At district level, we will also establish the setting up and bringing forward of resolutions that the war veterans would like to bring forward for consideration at provincial level.
“We will have provincial elections next weekend, that means the 20th and 21st of this month, and it will be at that level that we will also have the putting together of resolutions representing that particular province which will in turn be aggregated for consideration at the conference which will be held towards the end of this month.
“What we are doing now is to prepare ground for that conference and we are calling upon our members, our war veterans in those particular areas to come in numbers and to exercise their right in voting for their members so that we have structures at the district and provincial levels.”
Cde Bimha clarified on those who wanted positions in the new league, but they already held positions in other party structures.
“As you are aware, we already have war veterans who are already in the main wing and women’s league, in both cases war veterans are free to come up and be nominated for positions in the war veterans league but when they do so and when they do succeed they do have to make a choice whether they do want to remain in those other wings or to be part of the war veterans wing. They can’t be in both wings.”
Cde Bimha emphasised the need to consider gender equality in the selection process.
“We are also looking forward to the fact that when this process takes place there will be consideration for gender so that both genders are considered for the position from the district, provincial and national executive,” said Cde Bimha.
The elections will be supervised by the top leaders of the party.
“To make sure that we have a process that goes smoothly we have identified in most cases Politburo members who will be the team leaders for the teams that will go and supervise the elections,” said Cde Bimha.
“In all provinces we will have Politburo members heading these teams with the exception of Matabeleland North where we will have one of our central committee members leading the team.
“The Politburo members will be assisted by central committee members who come from those provinces. We will also have directors from party headquarters. We have also appealed to the provincial leadership in those particular areas.”
At the press conference, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said he was glad that the War Veterans League was becoming part of Zanu PF structures.
“It is indeed a good idea to bring war veterans into our structures because it brings a historical element,” he said. “War veterans are not a tribe from Botswana, Mozambique or Malawi, but are sons and daughters of Zimbabweans who decided to join the liberation struggle and came back home.
“Those who are making it seem as if there is a difference between war veterans and children of Zimbabwe are making a big mistake.
“This organ is important, historic and it is not going to disappoint because we are just going to use the same structures. Since the advent of Chairman Hunzvi, war veterans have been very active within the society and the ruling party.”
Cde Mutsvangwa said people should give credit to the war veterans because they continued to play a critical role.
“I want to remind the nation that because of the organisational capacity of war veterans, we managed to deliver the highest development index of the African continent,” he said. “We have the most educated people in the continent and we used war veterans experience to revive the tobacco industry.”
Secretary for the War Veterans League in the Politburo, Cde Douglas Mahiya, said the war veterans league will create an opportunity for them to be involved in decision making.
“We are putting a structure that will be responsible for affording war veterans an opportunity to make a contribution in the development of this country,” he said. “As war veterans, we are excited that this thing is now coming to a reality. We have 42 years of struggling to be at our rightful place that we have held ever since Zanu PF and the parties that led to the liberation of this nation.”
Cde Mahiya urged all ex-combatants to register to vote in the upcoming harmonised elections.
“I am encouraging all war veterans to participate in this exercise because it will save the interests of both the nation and war veterans economically, socially and politically,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa for granting them an opportunity to be heard.
“The party has made history,” said Cde Mahiya. “The President has made history for he has afforded us an opportunity that was rare for the past 42 years to allow us to defend our legacy and be able to speak to the current social activities.”
Cde Mahiya said they were going to put in the same energy they put during the liberation struggle.
“This time, war veterans are coming on board, we need to create an awareness and educate people about what we have so far achieved as a nation,” he said. “It is our duty to do so. We have the capacity. People voted in 1980 because of the hope that was given by the war veterans and the war vet is going to be responsible for that.
“Zanu PF will never be the same with the arrival of the boys and girls. I want to assure the nation that the boys and girls are back again in town because we are the inspiration of the future. We are going to apply the skills that we used during the liberation struggle to mobilise votes for Zanu PF in 2023.”