…as Mugabe Chides ‘rogue’ war vets.
As the succession battle within the ruling party continues to take center stage, Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene yesterday dropped a bomb by singling out Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the ring leader in the juggernaut factionalism puzzle.
Addressing thousands of War Vets who gathered at the party’s headquarters yesterday, Chimene bluntly accused Mnangagwa of fueling factionalism within the troubled party by being aligned to Team Lacoste. She challenged President Mugabe to fire Mnangagwa.
“Cde President we know the leader of Lacoste and it is Vice President Mnangagwa, but we do not know the leader of G40.
“Zvakatanga gore riya seri uko zvikanzi kwaita Tsholotsho, takachirera chi Tsholotsho. Nhasi uno chapinda nerimwe zita chakunzi Lacoste, (it started that other year with the Tsholotsho declaration. We ignored it and now it has resurfaced under a new faction called Lacoste,” said Chimene in reference to the Tsholotsho declaration of 2004 which was meant to oust Mugabe from power and was fronted by Mnangagwa and Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Chimene further tore into Mnangagwa, who kept smiling during the sledging and looked unfazed, by challenging him to speak out in the midst of his name being dragged in the mud.
“The Team Lacoste ringleader should come out in the open and declare his allegiance to the party, he should not keep quiet while people are busy using his name.
“It confuses us and we end up not knowing where he actually stands,” Chimene said before throwing another salvo where she accused the Vice President of disrespecting Mugabe who elevated him to the presidium.
As if that was not enough, the self-proclaimed War Veterans Chairperson challenged Mugabe to call for an emergence congress which will dismiss Mnangagwa and his legion of followers from the party.
“Vamwe ma War Vets vava neimwe government yavo tinoti isu ngaitsikwe-tsikwe hurumemde iyoyo (some war vets now have their own side government but we say let us destroy that shadow government.)
“Zanu PF needs culling, and we assure you this congress will surely be a platform to do that. If you fail to do it on your own, we will help you fire Vice President Mnangagwa from the party,” added Chimene.
She went on to say Team Lacoste and its leader deserve no place in the ruling party and jokingly said crocodiles must stay in rivers not around the people as they will cause havoc and intimidation.
Tuning to the axed Norton Constituency Legislature, Christopher Mutsvangwa, Chimene said he is no longer recognized within Zanu PF and the war veterans’ leadership after he was expelled from both camps.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe said rogue elements who want to cause disunity within the party will be dealt with severely just as was the case during the liberation war.
“During the war we had rebels but they were punished severely. Vamwe takavacherera pasi tichivaranga (some rebels were buried down as a form of punishment), we will not hesitate to do the same if this kind of behavior persists,” said President Mugabe,
His comments come after some members of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZLWVA) held an unsanctioned meeting last week and produced a damning communique which called for his immediate resignation amid allegations of human rights abuse and deviating from the principles of the liberation struggle.
The group was led by the association’s Secretary General, Victor Matemedanda who is understood to have been expelled from both the party and the Association.
However, President Mugabe said such elements have no place in the revolutionary party and he has set up a committee to look into the communique which he labelled as treasonous
“We asked leaders in Zanu PF to investigate authorship of the communique and after that we will take stern action against whoever wants to destabilize our party.
“War vets communique can’t destroy the Party, we will not allow that to happen,” warned President Mugabe who said war veterans should have an elective congress which will elect a new chairperson to replace the ousted Christopher Mutsvangwa.
The war vets patron urged liberation war fighters to remain united and support Zanu PF as they are the custodians of the ruling party.