We're not fazed by army threats: Chimene

HARARE - The battle of attrition raging within President Robert Mugabe’s faction-ridden Zanu PF is getting uglier by the day, with the ruling party faction opposed to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa claiming yesterday that those rallying behind the Midlands godfather were being led like “lambs to the slaughter” without realising it.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News, the minister of State for Manicaland, Mandi Chimene — who recently undressed Mnangagwa in public — also said she and other Zanu PF bigwigs linked to the party faction known as the Generation 40 (G40) group were unmoved by perceived threatening utterances emanating from the military.

The forthright Chimene added further that moves by “certain elements” in the deeply-divided ruling party to silence her and others who shared her sentiments on the former liberation movement’s deadly succession ructions would be in vain.

This comes after Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, was quoted in State media last weekend questioning the war credentials of some Zanu PF bigwigs and former freedom fighters.

“This nonsense of someone who was at a refugee camp or was a cleaner moving around telling people that he or she fought in the struggle is just that, nonsense. Wakarwa hondo kupi (Where did you participate in the war?),” Chiwenga thundered in a statement that was widely interpreted as directed at Zanu PF bigwigs such as Chimene and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.

“Vanhu ngavapute mbanje dzavo zvakanaka, hazvirambidzwi. Kana ririshave rekumusha kwenyu it’s ok, putayi ikoko — don’t disturb us because we lost thousands of innocent sons and daughters,” Chiwenga added in apparent direct reference to Chimene who had joked that some people thought that she was high on marijuana when she attacked Mnangagwa.

Asked whether she had been a mere cleaner during the liberation struggle as had also been insinuated in Chiwenga’s interview with State media, Chimene hit back saying it would be folly for any war veteran or Zanu PF leader to think that they knew everyone who had participated in the war of liberation, including in what capacity people had served the struggle.

“If people don’t know what happened during the war maybe they did not really take part in it. The fact is that there was no one camp and neither was there one gate. We had different camps and so we could not all know each other.

“I was never a cleaner and I do not think he (Chiwenga) meant me. I trained first as a nurse and then went to security. I was at Mavhudzi and those who want to know more about me should ask about Rumbidzai Courage Muhondo. That was my name. I went to war in 1976 after the Nyadzonya camp massacre,” she said.

“People should know that I am a real war veteran. I am not fake and I have respect for my fellow comrades. I also do not have any other ambitions and neither am I looking for any positions.

“During the war, we had various levels and up to today I respect every comrade who holds a senior rank. I also always salute members of the general staff in this province. I am more of an activist than a chairperson,” she added.

Chimene, who told thousands of Zanu PF supporters who gathered in Harare last month that she would do everything within her power to affirm Mugabe, including smoking weed, said the problem with the current crop of the war veterans’ leadership was that some “loud mouthed people want to lead instead of just being activists”.

“You cannot be loud and be a leader at the same time. Give others a chance to speak. Ndakatopopota kuti mandiitirei acting chairperson (I was not keen to be the acting leader of the war veterans).

“I am not a candidate for the chairpersonship. They can contest if they want that,” she said in apparent reference to her rivals who have gone to court to stop her from masquerading as a war veterans leader.

Virtually all the current leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) are closely linked to Mnangagwa’s mooted aspirations to succeed Mugabe. They also recently intimated that they would be bloodshed if the beleaguered VP did not succeed the increasingly frail nonagenarian.

In this respect, Chimene told the Daily News, many comrades were allegedly being led like lambs to the slaughter by ever scheming successionists who were plotting to take over from Mugabe at all costs, never mind the consequences.

“Tell comrades out there that they should not be led this way by ambitious politicians,” she said, adding that this was neither good for them, Zanu PF nor the country.

Zanu PF is currently divided into two main factions — Team Lacoste that is pushing for Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the throne, and the G40 camp that is rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather.

And although many Zanu PF insiders claim that the military is marching behind Mnangagwa, Chiwenga maintains that the security sector is apolitical and will not meddle in the ruling party’s factitious politics.

“I am not going to be intimidated by anyone. We want to uphold what we fought for and we will not abandon vaMugabe. We will stand by him while some are just looking for riches and only think about themselves,” Chimene said in an acerbic parting shot.

Comments (11)

Ana mandi heede,askanaaa!!!yu want to be saluted by the generals now?General Chiwenga kusaruta mandi ?Shure?iwe wakati mha ipapo,.Tibvire.Nhodo dzawaigona kumoza watove shasha yehondo.?Take the General s warning very seriouse.kura.

viola gwena - 12 August 2016

this wanton persecution of comrade Mandiitawepi over her utterances is running out of hand.Garwe should utterly clear the air over this succession saga .Otherwise,those trying to defend him left ,right, centre are also would be beneficeries of the saga.food for thought.

PURUTANAI - 12 August 2016

the general should tell us his role in the liberation struggle,he should also tell us his role during ghukurahundi,in any case soldiers in barracks take different assignments and sweeping is one of them,since when has one become less of war vet if they either cooked,or did menial tasks during the war,we the people stand with president,and we advise the president to take a leaf from president tayipp erdogan by purging the military ,those with ambitions of ruling this country must throw their hats into the ring starting with primaries in zanu pf,the president has shown that democracy must prevail by not annointing anyone,take of the military fatigues,get down from high offices of VP or warvets chairmanship and subject yourself to elections

truth - 13 August 2016

Can this war issue give us food?We are sick & tired of who did that or who didn't during the war.We want solutions please. U bunch of fools including yr boss Mugabe,,u are bz pointing each ather about what u did or didn't do during the war yet the people are perishing with hunger.U wants said change will come within ZANU but u bz fighting for positions.Please just get lost &let those who know how to change the situation do for the better

Matsotsi - 13 August 2016

Nonsense manhi war war war and war every time we are tired of this boredom that is why we want a president who has nothing to do with this nonsense . All those making noise about war were never in the front they were just enjoying themselves in foreign countries or were busy abusing us with stupid pungwes were all sorts of barbaric things were carried out including raping women Come election time we elect a civilian who is not haunted by spirit of people he or she slaughtered during war .Lets remove these bathakathi ..

Diibulaanyika - 13 August 2016

There are too many liars in Zanu PF who say they have no ambition for bigger positions . Mugabe has to be succeeded one day and its only proper that we have people with an ambition to take over and we should have people we think are able to take over . people like chimene , Mphoko , Kasukuwere and others who say have no ambitions are not leadership quality at all .

Hayibo ! - 13 August 2016

Chimene yu are a soldier ,coz thats what yu want to be,a warvet.now yu know the military way of disciplining rogue soldiers who defy commanders.Dnt be bluffed by civilians.They wont help yu at commando 1 barracks when military police pik yu up.The generals directive is yu refrain frm subjecting the military,which includes warvets .The general commented becoz that is his area.Bt yu are telling him to go to hell?Iwee.Dzipute mushe.

viola gwena - 13 August 2016

Pasi ne war.If we slow these people to intimidate us even our grand grand children will be treated the same.They will be war vets forever because even the youth league of ZANU are now calling themselves war vets. And all those youths are toy toying without even shows shame.Enjoying poverty.

Matsotsi - 13 August 2016

they are toy toying without shoes

Matsotsi - 13 August 2016

Busy pointing fingers to each other we are seek and tired of fairy tales that will never stop the coming of bond notes , the economic melt done, corruption.if you still have the fever of war just fight.

Black mask - 15 August 2016

" Cde President, nyangwe ndikaputa mbanje yacho kana zvichindibatsira zvakaipeko..." Imagine a full Minister saying this to HE in front of the youths. The first family in return smiles at this to a Minister full on the drug. Shame to the people of Manicaland to have such a person. What behaviour do you expect from the youths on hearing this. I cry for the Zimbabwe I yearned to see in April 1980.

Tendai fambaoga - 16 August 2016

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