Chiwenga then assigned minister of Agriculture Perrance Shiri to stand in for him after only a few Members of Parliament, councillors, Zanu-PF officials and government workers turned up for the clean-up exercise.
To explain Chiwenga’s absence, Shiri told the officials gathered at Mvurwi High School that Chiwenga had returned to Harare to attend to a “special assignment”.
“Vice-President was called back to Harare on his way here and he has assigned me to deliver his speech on his behalf,” Shiri said.
But the provincial leadership called for an emergency Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting at Umvukwes Primary School soon after Shiri’s address to iron out squabbles between the province’s Zanu-PF MPs and war veterans.
The meeting was so tense that security details and media were ordered out as tempers flared. But that was not before a NewsDay staffer was forced by Zanu-PF chairperson for Mashonaland Central province Kazembe Kazembe to stand before the PCC and explain a story published by the newspaper about the tiff between MPs and war veterans in the province which was affecting the party’s mobilisation efforts.
The story alleged a rift between the liberation war fighters and MPs in the area who they accused of abusing food donated to the province to advance personal interests.
Provincial war veterans leader Sam Parirenyatwa and his executive wrere also chucked out of the meeting.
“We should not be emotional about it; let us talk about the issue. I am being advised that the reporter who covered this story is in here. What is happening to our security, Simbarashe Sithole please stand up and tell us if your story is true because you are here by default,” he added.
The disgruntled war veterans accuse Kazembe of failing to mobilise crowds for the party’s rallies.
In 2018, Mnangagwa aborted a rally in Bindura after only a handful of people attended, while his wife had a run-in with party executives after a few people turned up for her family fun day at Chipadze Stadium in October last year.
“This is clear Kazembe is failing to mobilise people, hence the presidium is snubbing us now and again due to poor attendance, people do not want the truth to be told that is why they are chasing us away from their PCC meeting,” one veteran said.
But the MPs hit back, charging that the war veterans were misguided and accused them instead of sabotaging Mnangagwa.
“We gave the President all the seats and what the war veterans are doing is very wrong to accuse us of sabotaging the President. This rift will not end, we will continue fighting until we die,” said a legislator who refused to be named.