WAR veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has vowed to continue boycotting First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies unless and until she stops her public attacks on Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Sibanda told NewsDay in a telephone interview yesterday that he was ready to defend his position and warned that real war veterans would resist attempts to stage “a bedroom or boardroom coup”.
“If you want to find me guilty of not attending the First Lady’s rallies, I plead guilty on that one and I won’t attend unless the programme changes. I can’t attend a function where they say ‘Pamberi ne Mazoe Crush, pasi ne Gamatox’. That slogan is unknown in Zanu PF.
“That slogan is divisive and counter-revolutionary. I don’t belong to a venomous group and until their objectives change, I won’t be part of that. With its nature now, it’s counter-revolutionary and Zimbabweans should stand up against that.
“All able-bodied people should stand up against that. You can’t belong to a group that insults a Vice-President of the country. You can’t insult a person like that even if you are from different political parties, but you can encounter on policies,” he said.
Sibanda said it was wrong for Grace and other Zanu PF officials to publicly attack the Vice-President for “crimes” which could have been committed by her late husband, Retired General Solomon Mujuru.
“If President [Robert] Mugabe does wrong, l won’t insult Grace Mugabe. So you can’t insult Joice Mujuru because she is not Solomon Mujuru who they accuse of all those things. You can’t attack MaNdlovu my wife because of my wrongs.”
He scoffed at reports that some war veterans were plotting to kick him out of the association’s leadership for snubbing the First Lady, adding that he was currently on the ground campaigning to “block attempts to stage a coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom”.
“We will back what we will say at that Press conference with what we are doing on the ground. I won’t tell you where I am, but I am on the ground. I am not going to allow any coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom,” he said.
Sibanda has been under fire from a section of fellow war veterans for refusing to take part in Grace Mugabe’s rallies and turning down an invitation to attend the First Lady’s meeting with war veterans at her Mazowe Orphanage in Mashonlanad Central last Thursday.
His detractors, who identified themselves as elders of war veterans, have labelled his group a “counter-revolutionary squad opposed to Grace”, but Sibanda dismissed the “elders” as fictitious.
“Do you think that is worth discussing? It’s some war veterans and no one knows who they are. They call themselves elders of war veterans; we don’t have that in the association. We have a war veteran branch, district, province and national with President Robert Mugabe as our patron.
“If they are elders above the President, then we don’t have that unless maybe they are dead-living (sic) people. I want to deal with them one by one at a Press conference. We don’t have problems in our association. It’s intact. When our revolution was threatened, real war veterans sacrificed without support from the party and Zanu PF got a two-thirds majority.
“It excludes those people you are talking about. They were never in any campaign because like they said, they were too old. They only go where there is free food and just embarking on transport where they don’t know where they are going and what the objective is,” Sibanda said.