War veterans’ leaders say they have passed a vote of no-confidence in Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and seven top party officials, as President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF teeters on the brink of implosion.
In an unprecedented move, the war veterans demanded that Mphoko “must fall”, raising the stakes ahead of a crunch meeting between the former liberation fighters and Mugabe set for early next month.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya yesterday said they were unapologetic over their actions, declaring they were the owners of Zanu PF.
“The war veterans are the owners of Zanu PF. Zanu PF cannot afford to ignore its forces in as much as Zanu and Zapu could never have ignored Zipra and Zanla,” he said sternly.
“We are the foundation of the party and the party must take what we say very seriously. The vote of no-confidence has been passed and must be executed, that is what we expect.”
Mphoko is accused of fanning factionalism as well as tribalism after he said at a rally in Chiweshe a few weeks ago it did not follow that since Mugabe was a Zezuru, a Karanga must succeed him.
The VP has been strongly linked to Zanu PF’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Other leading party figures that the war veterans want fired are Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, politburo member Jonathan Moyo, women’s league finance secretary Sarah Mahoka, Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe, women’s league deputy secretary Eunice Sandi-Moyo, youth league deputy secretary Kudzai Chipanga and Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao.
In a chaotic weekend that saw no-confidence votes ringing out loud from Mashonaland West, Midlands to Bulawayo, the ex-freedom fighters met in Gweru where they plotted Mphoko’s downfall.
The meeting was addressed by national war veterans’ chairman and former minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.
“We never went to war along tribal lines and this man (Mphoko), who has been leading people from Sheraton Hotel (Rainbow Towers), had the audacity to make such tribal statements,” ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said.
War veteran and former Zanu PF central committee member Elphas Tshuma labelled Mphoko a divisive figure, who wanted to cause a tribal war in Zimbabwe.
“A whole minister chanting songs like Zezuru Unconquerable, what if the Karangas also say they are unconquerable, and the Ndebeles or Manyikas do the same? We will have a civil war. He wants to push us to the Rwandan-type genocide,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday was unwilling to delve into the raging political inferno.
“We have a constitution and that is our Bible,” he said.
“Every vote of no-confidence must have followed the law. If not, then we will not tolerate it and the necessary committee (national disciplinary committee) should investigate that.”
Repeated efforts to get comment from most of those affected who had no-confidence votes passed on them drew blanks, but a senior G40 proponent scoffed at the motions.
“We are not members of that association and how do you pass a vote of no-confidence in leaders from Gweru?” he said.
In a message posted on his Twitter account yesterday, Moyo seemed to pour cold water on the event.
“To be valid, a vote of no-confidence on anyone can only be passed by an organ to which that someone is a member,” he said.
At the Gweru meeting, Mutsvangwa denounced the G40 faction for “destabilising Zanu PF from within”, adding Mphoko’s liberation war credentials were questionable.
“We don’t know him and where he came from,” Mutsvangwa said.
He accused a Zanu PF politburo member of funding a named South African opposition party.
Mutsvangwa said the war veterans were going to send their resolution to African National Congress (ANC), advising South Africa’s ruling party that the named Zanu PF politician was not acting on behalf of the party.
“The ANC is unhappy that he (the named Zanu PF politician) associated with and funded the SA opposition politician, so we are going to forward that resolution to Umkhonto we Sizwe (the ANC’s military wing) that we have nothing to do with him,” he said.
“This matter has become a recurrent irritant on Zanu PF-ANC relations and the ZNLWVA will soon despatch a delegation to Luthuli House (ANC headquarters) to deliver this message and renew and reaffirm our historic solidarity forged in Angola, Tanzania and Zambia during the epic armed struggle against colonialism and apartheid championed by John Vorster and Ian Smith.
“War veterans called for his expulsion for his midwife role in identifying, mentoring and giving material and financial succour to the SA opposition leader.”
Mutsvangwa said Moyo was the architect of the regime change agenda at State House and “pretended to defend President Mugabe when he acted like a Selous Scout”. During the liberation war, the Rhodesian regime set up a brutal special unit, Selous Scouts, who under false cover operated as freedom fighters infiltrating and killing people supporting the struggle.
The meeting was attended by war veterans’ leaders from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, South, Mashonaland West and East.