WAR Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa (pictured) and members of his “suspended” Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) executive yesterday blasted First Lady Grace Mugabe, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere for allegedly abusing State resources by holding whirlwind countrywide tours to prop up their G40 faction.
Addressing journalists in the capital, Mutsvangwa’s group threatened to “go to war” to stop the G40 from controlling party issues.
“We sat in the (Zanu PF) politburo and all issues were discussed, they failed to get support and the President (Robert Mugabe), being a very understanding person, told us to go out there and work as one, not to love each other, but to work as people from the same party,” Mutsvangwa said.
“They come from there and go to some rural place and start violating the politburo, running the party in your rural area and funding children to sing tribal songs like Zezuru Unconquerable . . . people cannot parade ignorance as national intelligence, we cannot allow that.”
Mutsvangwa was speaking at an emotionally charged emergency ZNLWVA national executive meeting where members openly chanted “Pasi neG40!” (Down with G40!)
The War Veterans minister and his executive were allegedly booted out over the weekend for alleged indiscipline and immediately replaced by an interim team led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene. But Mutsvangwa and his team have defied the suspension which they described as illegal.
They openly attacked Grace, Mphoko, Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, accusing them of abusing State funds, fanning tribalism and living in luxury while the masses suffer.
War veterans secretary-general Victor Matemadanda warned the former fighters were being poked to stir trouble.
“We can see it, we are being pushed to war. We went to war and suffered not for the people in positions, but for the povo and, therefore, we are saying no to that abuse,” warned Matemadanda, who is believed to be a staunch supporter of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He lashed out at Mphoko for his tribal comments at the Chiweshe rally.
“Dividing and confusing the nation through tribal statements, we fought for this nation as one, leave us alone as one, in as far as I know there is no family which is still purely Karanga, Zezuru or Ndebele because of inter-marriage,” Matemadanda charged.
The war vets also defended the uniformed forces and accused the G40 of dabbling in dangerous territory.
“Our soldiers are a symbol of the State and they are guided by the Defence Act, you don’t attack soldiers at a rally in some rural area. It is clear that the centre is being disturbed, the centre that should be holding is having its power challenged at the instigation of G40,” Matemadanda said.
He also accused Mphoko – who refused to take up residence in a $3,5 million upmarket house and spent the whole year camped in a presidential suite at the glamorous Rainbow Towers Hotel – of “paying lip service to the plight of the poor” and tarnishing Mugabe’s “great image”.
He claimed the G40 group was buying allegiance from poor former fighters through token mobile cash payouts of $50 each.
“Sponsoring a Chiweshe rally of bogus votes of no confidence because they received $50 in (named money transfer platform) and because of poverty we are being bought,” he alleged.
Matemadanda said Chimene and her war vet associates had fired themselves from the association.
Main opposition MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said the tension building up in Zanu PF could soon degenerate into internal war if unchecked.
“We are worried that a civil war might actually be ignited because of the reckless and ill-thought-out outbursts by some faction-crazy Zanu PF zealots. We get really worried when national stability and security is threatened by excitable political cohorts,” he said.
Former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Temba Mliswa also waded into the storm, telling journalists at a Press briefing that Grace had crossed the “red line”.
“She (Grace) has overstepped her boundaries and there is no one who can stop her. As happened with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Grace is again accusing people of witchcraft. Some of us are begging to question her sanity. In African custom, the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, but we seem to have a unique situation where the President is submitting to his wife. She is in charge,” Mliswa said.