Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government has dismissed a communiqué purportedly released by war veterans renouncing and castigating President Mugabe’s leadership, saying investigations were underway to establish its origins and authorship.
Secretary for Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Brigadier-General (Retired) Walter Tapfumaneyi yesterday said all patriotic freedom fighters were behind and loyal to President Mugabe and his Government.
He said all those who attended a meeting, purportedly organised by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association on Thursday, had distanced themselves from the “traitorous and treasonous” communiqué.
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The war veterans’ association is led by Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa, who was recently expelled from Government and Zanu-PF for gross misconduct and disloyalty.
Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said Government was investigating the matter with a view to punishing those behind the traitorous communiqué.
“Government, therefore, dismisses the said traitorous so-called communiqué which is treasonable in the constitutional democracy that Zimbabwe is, with utter disdain and all the contempt that it deserves,” he said.
“While multi-agency investigations are underway to establish its origins, authorship, ownership and purpose which will bring all associated with it to justice, the ministry urges all patriotic veterans of the liberation struggle to remain loyal to His Excellency the President and to the party, to remain disciplined and principled while at the same time being wary of the divisive machinations of Zimbabwe’s detractors.
“The ministry wishes to inform the nation that all those who attended the above meeting and had authority over its purpose and content have all categorically distanced themselves from the document in terms of its ownership, authorship, substance and purpose.”
Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said following the indaba between President Mugabe and war veterans in April, Government was working on improving the welfare of the freedom fighters.
“We wish to reassure the nation that all issues relating to the welfare of veterans of the liberation struggle and their relationship with the ruling party were tabled comprehensively, responsibly and constructively in their inaugural historic meeting with their patron, President Mugabe.”
“Both the Politburo of Zanu-PF and Cabinet are now seized with the resolutions of this epic meeting, as contained in the report that was released by the Ministry on May 9, 2016, with a view to addressing as many of the issues raised as practically possible by April 2017 when the next in this series of now annual meetings is due to be held. It follows that any agitation or activism outside this very constructive process in the manner of this purported communiqué would therefore, be misguided, treacherous and outright counterproductive.”
The War Veterans Minister Colonel (Retired) Tshinga Dube weighed in saying war veterans should engage their patron President Mugabe for a redress of any grievances rather than taking a confrontational approach.
He said a militant approach being exhibited by some freedom fighters’ leaders was a disservice to the war veterans and their association.
It is widely believed that the statement was authored by Mr Mutsvangwa.
“I want to know what this means and I will engage the war veterans to reason together,” he said.
“As long as they say they are Zanu-PF, we say if they have any grievances they must come through the right channels.”
Asked on how his ministry was working with a deposed Mutsvangwa, Rtd Col Dube said: “As far as we are concerned we are working on the welfare of the war veterans. Even if he is expelled from the party as long as he is a war veteran it is his constitutional right that we should look after his welfare. It does not mean that if you have been expelled from the party now we cannot execute your welfare rights. We have not been given a right to stop looking at them as war veterans.”
He said it was up to the association not his ministry to call for a congress to elect a new leadership for the war veterans.
“You see, this is an association and it is up to them to see what has happened since their chairperson was expelled from the party,” Rtd Col Dube said.
“This is not the first time. Jabulani Sibanda was expelled and they decided that they call for a congress to choose another one. It is up to them and you cannot ask the ministry to do that for them.”
Observers believe that after the expulsion of Mr Mutsvangwa, the most logical thing for ZNLWVA to do was to go back to its membership and request for a renewed membership or reconfirmation of the executive.