'Mutsvangwa bona fide war veterans leader'

HARARE - War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has said he recognises expelled Zanu PF politburo member Chris Mutsvangwa as the legitimate chairman of the war veterans association.

He said the former MP can only be dropped by the ex-combatants through congress.

Dube said this yesterday while addressing journalists at a press conference, where he also detailed the circumstances surrounding government’s failure to pay school fees for children belonging to the ex-combatants.

This also comes after Zanu PF sought to recognise an interim executive led by Mandi Chimene as the legitimate leadership following a fallout between the two groups.

Mutsvangwa has vowed that he was still the legitimate leader of the war veterans and dragged Chimene to court over the issue, leading to the court ruling in his favour.

Dube said Mutsvangwa was the bonafide war veterans’ leader, even though some of his opinions pertaining to the need for President Robert Mugabe to leave office were personal.

“As far as we are concerned, we don’t so much recognise the leadership wrangle. What we have always said is that we respect the constitution, every organisation has a constitution, so the war veterans have a constitution and that’s what led them to choose their leadership.”

“Those who choose themselves, we don’t respect them because you can imagine jumping up one morning and say that I am the president of Zimbabwe. It’s not that simple, we have to follow the procedures and the Constitution. And then we have such characters who come up one morning and say I am now the chairman, you are no more the chairman, no we don’t accept that,” Dube said.

He added that Mutsvangwa has not been dismissed by the constituency of war veterans.

“It creates some problems of work but I have always said,…the chairman of the war veterans... Mutsvangwa, yes he was booted out in his constituency in Norton, who booted him out? It is the people who elected him.

“And he was sent out from the politburo by the people who elected him to the politburo and then of course from the Cabinet, he was also booted out of the Cabinet by the president, because he is the one who elected him, so we here did not elect Mutsvangwa to be chairman of the war veterans,…the rightful people to kick him out are war veterans themselves.

“So far, this is why we have continued to regard him as the chairman of the war veterans until they can have a congress and choose another leader of the war veterans,” he said.

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