Chaotic scenes erupt as war veterans attack Mlala
CHAOTIC scenes erupted at the war veterans’ regional meeting in Bulawayo at the weekend when the former freedom fighters protested against the presence of Cde George Mlala whom they accused of being divisive.
An address by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Brigadier General Walter Tapfumaneyi was briefly interrupted as the crowd went into a frenzy demanding that Cde Mlala should leave the venue.
Cde Mlala, a member of the council of elders, is accused of dividing both the war veterans and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
In chaotic scenes that were to punctuate the meeting with at least three incidents of heckling over Cde Mlala, the former liberation fighters openly told him that he was not welcome and they did not want to work with him.
A visually impaired war veteran accused Cde Mlala of persecuting him over allegations that he was linked to the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa.
With female war veterans most vocal on Cde Mlala’s onslaught, a visibly dejected Cde Mlala sat with jaws in hands throughout the meeting, apparently stunned by the open defiance shown by his colleagues.
Another war veteran accused Cde Mlala of destroying organisations he was previously a member of and said he wanted to do the same with Zanu-PF and the war veterans.
Efforts by the War Veterans’ Minister, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, to calm the crowd were fruitless as furious cadres continued their attack on Cde Mlala.
It took the intervention of a female war veteran who sang a liberation song to calm the former freedom fighters before pleading with them to give the minister and his officials an ear.
In the course of the meeting, Rtd Col Dube said, Cde Mlala was remorseful about his past behaviour and was willing to work with his colleagues.
“UMlala uthe sefuna ukusebenza labantu khathesi,” said Rtd Col Dube but the crowd insisted that did not want anything to do with Cde Mlala.
Commenting on the incident yesterday, Rtd Col Dube said his ministry will continue working towards bringing together all former liberation war fighters so that they fall under one group.
“As a ministry, we will try by all means to bring all the war veterans together. Cde Mlala was working with Mandi Chimene but we have since held a meeting with her where she admitted that what she did was not good,” he said.
“Mlala also needs to know that it is important to work with others and that opinions of other people should be valued. We are working towards uniting war veterans and members of the Zipra and Zanla command are on board in our efforts to unite veterans.”
Cde George Mlala