By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, February 17, 2016 – NEWLY installed war veterans vice chairperson George Mlala says the new executive will not be tempted to poke its nose into Zanu PF’s volatile succession politics, something that has claimed the scalps of the Chris Mutsvangwa led executive.
In an exclusive interview with RadioVOP Tuesday, Mlala said the Mandi Chimene led executive will also avoid confronting authorities in efforts to restore the former fighters’ “lost dignity and welfare”.
Mlala said war veterans have long been deprived of their rights by leaders such as the ousted quartet of war veterans minister Mutsvangwa, his wife Monica, secretary general Victor Matemadanda and executive member Headman Moyo.
The four were booted out of the feuding organisation last week during a hastily arranged meeting in Harare that went on to install the Manicaland provincial affairs minister as its acting national chair with Mlala as deputy.
“Primarily, our main objective up to the time of elections is to restore dignity of war veterans,” Mlala said.
“This is because war veterans nationwide had lost dignity. We are going to engage the Zanu-PF party to foster our expectations.
“We are going to say to the leadership; you are the ones who sourced firearms and clothed us during the armed struggle, so here we are. Provide for our needs. That is the area that has been missing.”
Mlala said the newly installed war veterans’ executive will not be confrontational towards government but will pursue engagement through lobbying.
“We have no business to go and attack the government or ministers,” he said.
“Our main target is the party and that’s where we are going to sit and we won’t be attacking anyone.
“If we are to get anything from the party, we need to go to our patron (President Robert Mugabe).”
Mlala also said the new leadership will not attempt to influence the appointments of political leaders within the party.
“We had never at any given time during the armed struggle as war vets had influence on who should lead or not in Zanu PF or Zapu,” he added.
“We are not political but military wing. Zanu PF has structures, so are the war vets.
“You don’t decide who will lead without following those structures. We must respect our leaders. We must move away from that culture of disrespecting our leaders.
“So our main objectives are to restore our dignity and revisit our history. Our history has been distorted and we will have to overspeed ourselves.”
Mlala’s comments come in the wake of the strongly disputed ouster of Mutsvangwa and his team for a slew of offences which involve undermining the First Family.
This comes after alleged attempts by the embattled group to prop up Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.
Mutsvangwa and crew deny the allegations and have vowed to stay put in what could fuel more tensions within Zanu PF.