Chaotic scenes erupt as war vet­er­ans at­tack Mlala

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nduduzo Tshuma Po­lit­i­cal Editor

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

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