VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday stunned opposition legislators when he told Parliament that President Robert Mugabe never threatened to crush war veterans for meddling in the Zanu PF succession fights.
Mnangagwa was responding to MDC-T Proportional Representation MP, Nomathemba Ndlovu, who had asked him to explain if it was government policy that whenever Mugabe and the ruling party are challenged over succession issues, they threaten to unleash violence.
“Last week, Mugabe, during a Zanu PF central committee meeting, made such utterances,” she said.
But, Mnangagwa flatly denied that Mugabe issued such threats, although the remarks were made in an open central committee meeting and were captured by journalists.
“I was in the central committee meeting and you were not there,” he said, referring to opposition legislators.
“I heard what was said by the President, but you were not there, and those are stories you read in newspapers.
There is no such thing.”
Opposition legislators interjected, saying Mugabe was live on national TV making the threats.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mabel Chinomona later came to Mnangagwa’s rescue and quashed debate over the matter.
Later, Binga North MP, Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) tried to smuggle back the issue of Mugabe’s slur on war veterans, asking War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube how he felt about Mugabe’s utterances.
Chinomona again intervened and ordered Dube not to respond to the question.
Mugabe last week said war veterans should stick to their role of lobbying for the welfare of the former fighters and stop trying to direct the party’s succession plan.
“We don’t want to see another rise of dissident activity. I say no to the war veterans’ association that does not know its mandate,” he thundered.
“It is not your function to talk of who should succeed the President or, worse still, threaten that unless what you want is fulfilled, there shall be bloodshed. Bloodshed? You want to shed blood again? That will not be allowed and steps will be taken against them.”
In an unrelated matter, Chitungwiza North MP, Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) asked Industry and Commerce deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa to explain if it was government policy for First Lady Grace Mugabe to grab goods confiscated by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and dish them out to Zanu PF supporters.
In response, Mabuwa said: “I am not aware of such a statement issued by my ministry to that effect and whether those are media reports, and if they are not supposed to be malicious.”