Deposed war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, has described fresh divisions rocking the association of ex fighters as child’s play and a circus he would not want to be involved in, amid claims a faction loyal to him was planning a separate congress.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association reportedly suspended its constitution in preparation for setting up new provincial structures, but Sibanda questioned this move, describing it as child’s play.
“I do not know that and I cannot talk to you over such child’s play issues happening there, especially when I am talking to you Southern Eye,” he said.
“But there are some people in that faction who are saying they have suspended the war veterans’ constitution and they want to build provincial structures.
“I cannot talk about that much, just find out from them, I will talk to you on serious issues because this is child’s play.”
Sibanda’s comments come in the wake of reports that a faction loyal to him was planning to hold a counter war veterans’ congress, as they did not recognise the one that elected Christopher Mutsvangwa to the helm of the ex-fighters’ body. Some war veterans are reportedly displeased with a structure known as the war vets elders, which emerged on the eve of Zanu PF’s congress early last month.
However, Sibanda claimed he was unaware of these developments, insisting that everything happening in the war veterans’ body did not warrant his attention. He distanced himself from what was happening in the former fighters’ association, saying he would not resort to talking about such issues, but would concentrate on matters of substance concerning nation building.
While Mutsvangwa was uncontested for the war veterans’ post, there were murmurs of disapproval from a number of former liberation fighters, who were also eyeing the position, but pulled out for as yet unexplained reasons.
Former Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, was reported to be one of the brains behind the new congress, which is slated for either February or March, but could not be drawn to comment on the matter.
“I am in a meeting and I cannot comment on that,” he said, before switching off his mobile phone.
A war veteran who claimed to be in the know and was one of the organisers of the meeting, claimed they had met ousted Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Gumbo and former Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa.
He claimed Mutasa was in the country, although they did not want this to be known.
However, a phone call to Mutasa last week revealed he was in India, nursing his wife, while the State media was forced to retract a story claiming the former minister was in the country.
The war veteran was evasive when asked what they had discussed with the former top Zanu PF leaders.
Sibanda was last year arrested for saying he would oppose a “bedroom or boardroom coup”, in remarks largely seen as opposing First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rise to lead the Zanu PF women’s league.
He was expelled from the party, the second time in 10 years, with Zanu PF making strong resolutions against him at its congress.
Strenuous efforts to get a comment from Mutsvangwa were fruitless on Monday night, as his mobile phone was unavailable and messages to his phone remained undelivered.