HARARE - The secretary-general of a faction of war veterans loyal to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Victor Matemadanda, was involved in an ugly fight in Gokwe last week, as the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging Zanu PF continue to escalate.
While Matemadanda claimed earlier yesterday that he had been beaten by thugs that had allegedly been set on him by former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First, the Daily News later gathered that the assailants that he fought with are from a rival Zanu PF-aligned war veterans group.
“I know the people, although I will not mention them. I know they are people who have joined Mujuru’s party and I have made a police report, so I will not want to jeopardise their investigations by commenting further than that,” Matemadanda said.
But one of the ex-freedom fighters who were involved in the altercation with Matemadanda, Stephen Moyo, confirmed to the Daily News that he had exchanged blows with him after they disagreed over Matemadanda’s decision to back Christopher Mutsvangwa’s bid to resist his recent ouster as the leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
Mutsvangwa was ousted from that position last month, following a vote of no confidence that was passed against him — and subsequently being replaced in an interim capacity by Manicaland Provincial minister Mandi Chimene.
“He confronted me when I met him on my way to watch a football match between Liverpool and Manchester United, querying why we were supporting Chimene’s leadership.
“He accused me of being used by the First Lady (Mugabe’s wife Grace) for nothing, and when I insisted that I would not support a leadership that was fired, he came out of his car, grabbed me by the collar and slapped me twice on the cheek.
“That is when I retaliated, prompting his colleagues to come to his rescue while he threatened to shoot me. I then ran away fearing for my life,” the Romania-trained Zanla veteran, Moyo — whose war time nom de guerre was Chief Chimurenga — said.
Moyo also accused Matemadanda of falsely claiming that all the war veterans who were resisting Mutsvangwa were linked to Mujuru’s ZPF.
“As war veterans, we are bitter that he and Mutsvangwa lied to us that the government had mobilised resources for our children’s school fees, and that is why we attended the meeting in Harare and were beaten by police.
“War veterans had been misled on many things, and thank God, the president (Mugabe) cleared the air and honestly told us that the government did not have money at the moment, but that resources would be found.
“What we realised later was that most of the people who went to Harare for the meeting were not genuine war veterans, but youths who had been promised beer.
“How then can we support such a leadership?” Moyo charged.