HARARE - Leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) faction aligned to the generation 40 (G40) camp Mandi Chimene says she crossed paths with former war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa after telling him that he was big-headed.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Chimene, who is also minister of State for Manicaland Province, said the “war” between her and Mutsvangwa began when the latter was elected war veterans leader in 2014.
“Soon after he (Mutsvangwa) was made the war veterans’ leader, he came to Manicaland and I introduced him to war commanders. He was very upset about that, accusing me of identifying war structures without his authority claiming he was now the one in charge,” Chimene said.
She said Mutsvangwa went on to insult her and the other leadership.
“Ndopakabva hondo yangu naMutsvangwa (that is where my misunderstandings with Mutsvangwa began).
“They (the Mutsvangwas) have a vendetta,” she said.
Further explaining the tiff, Chimene said since Mutsvangwa dragged her to court over the association’s leadership, resulting in an order barring her from interfering with the ZNLWVA’s activities, she has not been chairing the group’s meetings.
Commenting on the war veterans preparatory meeting to meet Mugabe held last Wednesday, Chimene said she was against being associated with Mutsvangwa, who she accused of being disloyal to the veteran leader.
During the closed door meeting, which was chaired by Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, she queried why loyal cadres were being associated with disloyal members.
Chimene said she questioned Sekeramayi over Mutsvangwa’s presence in the meeting.
The combative war veteran said she even refused to greet Mutsvangwa during the meeting.
“Mutsvangwa akandipumha uroyi (Mutsvangwa labelled me a witch),” she said.
She, however, said despite her refusal to greet the ousted war veterans’ leader, army commander Constantine Chiwenga forced her to hand-shake Mutsvangwa.
“But since then my right hand side is still in pain. Saka (so) what’s that,” Chimene said.
She said it appeared the plot was for her to hand-shake Mutsvangwa under whatever circumstances.
She said Mutsvangwa was not supposed to attend meetings involving war veterans, claiming his inclusion was based on a sinister motive.
“It raises eyebrows. We are suspecting them. Why is he (Mutsvangwa) afraid to work with me?” Chimene queried.
She went further, “What are they hiding from us? Asi vari kuda kuedza kuviga here madiamonds avakaba kwaChiadzwa? (are they trying to conceal the Chiadzwa diamond deals?)”
She said Mutsvangwa was not qualified to meet with the president during the scheduled indaba since he once likened Mugabe to a frog in a bathtub.
Chimene said Mutsvangwa’s meetings with former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda also showed that he was no longer loyal to Mugabe.
“What was Mutsvangwa saying at the meeting if he is still loyal? Tichiri tese here? (are we still together)” she asked, further claiming Sibanda had openly stated that he wanted to sink Zanu PF.
Chimene said the association was aligned to Zanu PF and the two cannot be separated.
“If they have found a replacement for Mugabe, where is the replacement?”
“They should all be replaced, so that we get a fresh crop of leaders from the war veterans’ pool that even have better war credentials and have not enjoyed for the benefits that they (those appointed by Mugabe) have been enjoying since 1980,” she said.
She said several of the leaders were serving in high offices at the mercy of Mugabe, who has been protecting them over the years, despite some of them having lost elections.
“Kunyarara hakusi kupusa (being silent does not make us fools),” she said.