DESPITE his expulsion from government and the ruling Zanu PF party, former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa remains in charge of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), a government minister has said.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube told journalists yesterday that a faction of the former freedom fighters’ leadership led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene could not get government recognition because it had been “self-imposed”.
“We will not recognise self-elected people, the ministry has said it will deal with the leadership of ZNLWVA, which was elected in Masvingo. People cannot just wake up and say I am now the chairman of war veterans, no. The same can just wake up and say I am now the President,” he said.
Mugabe has been desperate to have the backing of war veterans following the fall-out that was precipitated by the internal power struggles in the ruling party, as well as a stinging communiqué by the former freedom fighters, threatening to support a rival candidate, describing the veteran Zanu PF leader as “genocidal and manipulative”.
Dube said only a proper congress could rid the ZNLWVA of Mutsvangwa.
“When the war veterans were unhappy with Jabulani Sibanda they held a congress in Masvingo and elected Mutsvangwa, so until and unless they elect a new leadership, the ministry will recognise Mutsvangwa as chairman,” he said.
Dube appealed to school authorities across the country to spare 23 855 children of war veterans from expulsion even though his ministry has consistently failed to pay for their fees.
In a joint statement by acting Finance minister Sydney Sekeramayi, acting Higher Education minister Makhosini Hlongwane and his Primary and Secondary Education counterpart, Lazurus Dokora and Dube, schools and colleges were urged to be patient with defaulters.
“Pending the release of those funds by Treasury, heads of schools and colleges are strongly requested not to turn away students, whose fees have not been paid,” the statement read in part.
The ministry owes a total of $37 million in outstanding fees, which have accumulated over the years and pay a termly bill of $6,4 million.