Thursday, 17 November 2016


Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has accused War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube and military chiefs of effectively plotting a coup d’état against President Robert Mugabe by holding a crucial meeting with disgruntled former freedom fighters while the nonagenarian is out of the country.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the fuming Chimene also tackled head-on the Commander of the Defence Forces, Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, who in August this year pooh-poohed her liberation struggle credentials by suggesting that she had been a mere cleaner during that bloody war, in addition to warning her to smoke “her marijuana in peace”.

Mugabe is currently attending a climate change conference in Morocco.
Chimene’s stunning claims came after Dube and his permanent secretary, Walter Tapfumaneyi, held a crucial indaba on Tuesday with war veterans leader and former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and his executive, in a last ditch effort to heal the widening rift between ex-combatants and Mugabe.

Dube’s meeting with war vets took place as Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF were still smarting from the public humiliation meted on the increasingly frail nonagenarian by the disaffected ex-combatants who met in Masvingo last weekend where they amended their constitution  to ditch the long-ruling leader as their patron.

Chimene claimed that Dube’s meeting with the war veterans was not just illegal, but also served as an effective coup against Mugabe whose party had expelled the leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) from the warring Zanu PF in the aftermath of their damning communiqué issued in July this year.

“I was not at the meeting, but what I can say is this is gross insubordination. I would like to think that this person (Dube) is ill-advised. I think what he is doing will unravel soon.
“This was also done when the president was outside the country. Pane vaakuita anababa vemusha (There are some who are beginning to behave like they have powers equal to Mugabe) and so we will wait for his return,” she said.

“We know that most bad things happen when the president is outside. Maybe they are just testing the waters kuti kana taakutonga zvinenge zvichiitasei (having a dress rehearsal of how it will feel like when they assume power).

“We are playing a wait-and-see game. If we say too much they will say we have smoked mbanje (marijuana). We cannot stop a person from rebelling. Whatever they are doing, it is just a matter of time before they are caught.

“The minister should know that he was appointed by the president and he is defying what the highest authority said. Ini handidi hangu kutaura nezvazvo, muridzi wake nyakumugadza achazvinzwira handiti anoverenga mapepa? Mdara achauya (I don’t want to say much about this because the one who appointed the minister reads newspapers and is going to return very soon),” Chimene added.

However, Dube dismissed Chimene’s allegations, maintaining that the meeting with the Mutsvangwa-led war vets’ executive was part of the brief that he had been given by Mugabe.

“She is the one who is the rebel because she is trying to impose herself. I respect her as a war veteran and a minister but she is not the leader of war veterans.

“What we did (meeting war veterans) is exactly the mandate that we were given by the president, so she is completely lost,” Dube told the Daily News as the tribal, factional and succession wars consuming Zanu PF burn hotter.

Zanu PF insiders say Chimene is a prominent member of the ruling party faction that goes by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

On the other hand, many war veterans, who are said to be in the opposite Team Lacoste group (Mnangagwa faction) assert that the VP should succeed Mugabe and have even gone on record to warn that if the Midlands godfather is overlooked, blood could be shed in the country.

On Sunday, Chimene had an ugly confrontation with Dube during a meeting with war veterans in Mutare, with the Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister also accusing Dube of sidelining war veterans aligned to Mugabe and the G40 last week.

After amending their constitution last weekend, which saw them scrapping off the post of patron which was occupied by Mugabe, the war veterans also warned that they would only work with the nonagenarian again if he jettisoned the G40, which they accuse of destabilising the ruling party.

ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya confirmed to the Daily News at the weekend that they had decided to scrap from their constitution the position of patron — a move that Zanu PF insiders described as yet another humiliating slap in the face for Mugabe by the disaffected liberation stalwarts.

However, Mahiya attempted to soften the slap-down by arguing that this move, in itself, did not imply that war veterans bore a grudge against Mugabe — adding rather incongruously that they were prepared to normalise relations with him as long as the nonagenarian dumped the G40.

Yesterday, Mahiya described Chimene as “not worthy” of any bona fide ex-combatants’ attention.

“Is she the spokesperson of the president? Can she protect the president? Why should she seek to speak on behalf of the president?

“True comrades do not behave the way she is doing, more so as she is insignificant . . . What I understand is that Dube, a senior war veteran, cannot be told by her what to do. The minister was doing the right thing to speak with comrades. We met with him as war veterans.

“She (Chimene) cannot direct the minister of War Veterans. We are no longer the war veterans of old, the nation depends on us. When we won the war we wanted to see freedom and we want to see that whoever is ruling the country is upholding the principles that drove us to the war,” Mahiya thundered.

Mugabe and his brawling ruling party have been working hard to heal the widening rift between them and the former freedom fighters, who stunningly ended their 41-year relationship with the nonagenarian after they released a damning communiqué on him and Zanu PF in July.

Since then, Mugabe and Zanu PF have been dangling gifts to the war vets, including cash, land and vehicles, in a bid to strengthen the ruling party ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 polls — after initial thuggish methods failed to coerce the disgruntled ex-combatants into line.

In serving their divorce papers on Mugabe five months ago, the liberation struggle fighters also said pointedly that Mugabe’s continued stay in power was now a stumbling block to the country’s development, adding coldly that the nonagenarian would be “a hard-sell” if he contested in the watershed 2018 polls.

Mugabe responded by duly launching a savage crackdown against the war vets leadership and arrested five officials.

Analysts have also predicted that Mugabe will not win the 2018 polls without the support of the war veterans, while on their part the ex-combatants have vowed that they will vote for an opposition candidate if the nonagenarian stands in those elections. Daily news


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