HARARE – The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) has been plunged into turmoil after a bitter fallout between the chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa and secretary general Victor Matemadanda.
This comes after war veterans in Mutsvangwa’s home province of Mashonaland West initiated moves to oust him from the body, a motion which has been supported by Mashonaland East.
The national executive of ZNLWVA meets this week to deliberate on the matter.
But before it does, Mutsvangwa has accused Matemadanda of leading the revolt against his leadership at the behest of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
There is no love lost between Chiwenga and Mutsvangwa after the latter accused Sakunda Supplies boss Kudakwashe Tagwirei of running a fuel cartel. Tagwirei is a major benefactor of Zanu PF and a close associate of Chiwenga, who read the attack on his associate as an attack on himself.
Mutsvangwa claims Chiwenga previously had a low opinion of Matemadanda, whose war history he questioned and referred to him as “povo”.
But the two have now converged to seek his ouster, Mutsvangwa says.
“They said they want to anoint him as the leader of war veterans because he is the only war veteran in a leadership position who won a parliamentary seat in the July 30 general elections, all others fell by the wayside. (Matemadanda) has been trying to change the leadership, but he is meeting a lot of resistance from everybody,” Mutsvangwa, defeated in the MP race in Norton, said.
“Except Mashonaland West, other provinces are saying this is nonsense.”
Matemadanda denies he wants Mutsvangwa out, and in any case he says the next leader of the war veterans should be former ZIPRA.
He says he received a call from Mutsvangwa’s wife – Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa – asking him where he stood.
“When Mashonaland West announced that they now want Mutsvangwa to be recalled, Mutsvangwa’s wife called me at midnight saying what is your take? I said, I spent five years fighting (former President Robert) Mugabe and now I want to work for my family,” Matemadanda told The Herald.
“I don’t want to be dragged into issues of fuel that we are hearing that there are certain people who want to invest in that sector. I have nothing to do with those wars (and) I don’t want to be involved. The fact that I refused to comment on the position taken by Mashonaland West is the reason why they are saying it’s me who is interested in the chairmanship post.
“The stupidity of whoever is saying that is, the constitution is very clear that if Mutsvangwa steps down today, his deputy is the one who takes over until we elect a new chairman.”
Mutsvangwa had not been attending their national executive meetings since July last year, Matemadanda claimed.
Elections for new war veterans’ leadership are expected next year.