Min­is­ter warns against anti-war vet­er­ans lobby

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tichaona Zin­doga Harare Bu­reau

THE Min­is­ter of Wel­fare Ser­vices for War Vet­er­ans, War Col­lab­o­ra­tors and For­mer Po­lit­i­cal De­tainees, Cde Tshinga Dube has de­cried the “pride” in some Zanu-PF quar­ters who do not want to work with war vet­er­ans and warned that the rul­ing party could pay a heavy price for alien­at­ing the for­mer fight­ers.

Cde Dube, who this week held a crunch meet­ing with war vet­er­ans in Harare, said there were some mem­bers in the rul­ing party hold­ing stri­dent po­si­tions against war vet­er­ans and were even un­happy with Tues­day’s meet­ing. The meet­ing, he said, had been held at the be­hest of war vet­er­ans and had man­aged to iron out “80 per­cent” of dif­fer­ences and was likely to pre­cede broader talks be­tween the for­mer fight­ers and the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship.

Cde Dube told our Harare Bu­reau at his of­fices yes­ter­day that Zanu-PF was bet­ter off with­out mak­ing en­e­mies of the for­mer lib­er­a­tion fight­ers and urged the party to find a way to re­tain mem­ber­ship rather than drive peo­ple away.

He warned that a com­pla­cent rul­ing party could face a shock re­ver­sal in the next elec­tions, slated for 2018 and sug­gested that dif­fer­ences be­tween the rul­ing party and war vet­er­ans and among the for­mer fight­ers them­selves could be mended.

“The onus is on us, if we want to solve the prob­lem with war vet­er­ans, there is no prob­lem. We can do it in one week and ev­ery­thing will be over. But there are some peo­ple within the party who do not want the war vet­er­ans at all,” the Min­is­ter said.

“Even in the last meet­ing we had three days ago, it was clear that there are some mem­bers of the party who would rather have war vet­er­ans com­pletely out, (and) they re­main them­selves. Then, it be­comes dif­fi­cult for us to put them to­gether, we are fight­ing a los­ing war as long as that at­ti­tude re­mains.

“We are say­ing, if we want to unite the war vet­er­ans so that they unite with the party, let’s all work to­wards the same goal. But, I am al­most cer­tain that a lot of peo­ple are not happy. Even for the meet­ing that we held a day be­fore yes­ter­day, there are some peo­ple who are com­plain­ing bit­terly, who be­lieve that we are sell­ing out.

“Some of them even talk of coup which was be­ing plot­ted, but we have ev­ery­thing recorded. If you want to lis­ten you can, ev­ery word that was said in that meet­ing was recorded. We were not plan­ning any evil. In ac­tual fact we want these com­rades to come to­gether so that we can be back and be strong again,” he said. Cde Dube warned party mem­bers that “pride goes be­fore a fall”. “If they are too proud to ac­cept the war vet­er­ans back, we may pay a price for it. But, if we can find a com­mon ground then we will be al­right. There is an old Rus­sian say­ing that I like which says, ‘A thou­sand friends are too few, one en­emy is one too many’,” he said.

Cde Dube dis­missed sug­ges­tions that he was sid­ing with a fac­tion of war vet­er­ans aligned with for­mer min­is­ter Mr Christo­pher Mutsvangwa.

Cde Mandi­itawepi Chimene, who pur­port­edly leads a ri­val fac­tion, has re­port­edly been irked by Cde Dube’s al­leged par­tial­ity.

But the min­is­ter said: “We have never sided with any fac­tion, the war vet­er­ans on their own formed an as­so­ci­a­tion, the war vet­er­ans’ as­so­ci­a­tion. In Masvingo, they went there to re­move Jab­u­lani Sibanda who was a for­mer chair­man and they chose Cde Mutsvangwa.

“Some of the peo­ple in the ex­ec­u­tive are some of those who have de­cided to form a splin­ter group. What we have said to them is, you haven’t had any other congress since Masvingo, so any­one who wants to de­pose a present leader must go back to the congress and de­pose him there. Prop­erly fol­low your con­sti­tu­tion.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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