By Mark Mhukayesango
GWERU, January 19, 2016 – WAR veterans in Midlands have threatened to approach President Robert Mugabe to demand the ouster of provincial chairman Kizito Chivamba whom they accuse of fanning divisions in the area.
Chivamba is an ally to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa whose camp is tussling for control of Zanu PF with the so-called G40, which wants the first lady Grace Mugabe to succeed President Robert Mugabe, who turns 92 next month.
The bossy war veterans’ chief has repeatedly vowed to rid the factious party of Joice Mujuru remnants, something which party loyalists feel was a waste of time as the ousted Vice President has long ceased to be a threat to the current Zanu PF leadership.
A senior war veteran identified as Zwazwa told RadioVop on Monday Chivamba was unnecessarily driving a wedge between the party’s old guard and young Turks.
“He is supposed to be working toward reuniting the party following the Mujuru wave, but he is now at the centre of all these division.
“He turned the youths against MP (Shurugwi) Tapiwa Matangaidze at one of our PCC meetings, such behaviour is uncalled for,” Zwazwa said.
Late last year, Tapiwa Matangaidze, who is also Public Service deputy minister, was booed by party youths who labelled him as a member of the G40. Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane has been labelled a Grace follower.
Chivamba has in the past also threatened to deal with Machaya for allegedly sabotaging party programmes.
War veterans have further accused him of being unsuitable for his post for allegedly being used as a Mnangagwa front.
“He is Mnangagwa’s pawn because what is his reason for wanting to fire the young ministers,” said another war veteran, while refering to the embattled trio of Matangaidze, Anastasia Ndhlovu (deputy tourim minister and Hlongwane, who all allege victimisation by Mnangagwa allies in Midlands.
“How can the young folk stop denigrating others when the party chairman goes around discrediting other officials,” added the former liberation fighter.
Reached for comment, Chivamba pleaded his innocence while affirming support for President Mugabe.
“It’s foolish for people to think that I’m supporting the VP because I was elected to serve the party, not individuals. I am here to serve President Mugabe,” he said.
“All I have done since I was elected was to remove bad elements in our party. Those people who were causing division; so I don’t see how I have suddenly become divisive.”
The controversial Zanu PF politician has been in at the centre of endless bickering in the province since he replaced Jason Machaya, who was among some axed party bigwigs accused of plotting President Mugabe’s ouster. He was dressed down during the first lady’s Midlands rally last year after mispronouncing VP Phelekezela Mphoko’s surname as “Mboko”, a Shona word meaning fool.
He has fronted Mnangagwa’s spirited bid to prolong his stranglehold on the province. Chivamba is not new to controversy having been implicated in the shooting of former party politician Patrick Kombayi (now late) in the 1990s but was freed through a presidential pardon.