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Chinotimba barred from poll contest

Loughty Dube

THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has barred former chairmen of Harare and Bulawayo provinces, Joseph Chinotimba and Jabulani Sibanda respec

tively, from contesting any positions at its long overdue national congress in Mutare.

The ZNLWVA this week said Chinotimba and Sibanda were no longer members of the association’s chapters, which ruled them out from contesting executive positions.

Chinotimba and Sibanda were fired from ZNLWVA chapters they were leading in Harare and Bulawayo over allegations of misconduct although the two still insist they are in charge of the provinces.

The standoff between the two former provincial leaders and the interim national executive is set to lead to a feud as acting national chairman Patrick Nyaruwata has already thrown his name into the election fray.

Nyaruwata in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent said Chinotimba and Sibanda would not be allowed to contest any position in the ZNLWVA.

He said they would also be barred from casting votes during the elections.

“Chinotimba and Sibanda are not in the ZNLWVA structures and as we speak they are not allowed to contest any position nor are they allowed to vote in the elections, they are just like you right now,” Nyaruwata said.

Chinotimba and Sibanda are understood to be already campaigning for the two top posts in the ZNLWVA national executive.

But sources said the chairman’s post was not going to be contested in Mutare since the association wants to make President Robert Mugabe life chairman of the association.

The war veterans association has not had a leader since the death of Chenjerai Hunzvi in 2001.

Sources have alleged Chinotimba and Sibanda have the backing of Speaker of Parliament and Zanu PF secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa to take up senior positions in the association.

The sources said Sibanda fell out of favour with senior Zanu PF officials in the Bulawayo province after showing open support for Mnangagwa in the raging succession debate in a province where Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo is seen as a clear favourite.

“Chinotimba and Sibanda are being backed by Mnangagwa and that is the main reason why they are being pushed out of the association by the interim national executive,” said the source.

“The plan was for Chinotimba to take over as chairman while Sibanda would deputise him and that would ensure that Mnangagwa enjoys maximum support from the war veterans but that has been scuttled.”

When contacted for comment, Chinotimba vowed that he would contest the chairmanship despite his suspension from Harare province.

“Nyaruwata is afraid of contesting against me,” said Chinotimba. “He would lose if he faces me in an election but when he says I am banned from contesting the elections it shows how mad he is. I will contest in the Mutare congress and I will become chairman,” Chinotimba vowed.

Nyaruwata scoffed at Chinotimba’s allegations and said he was not contesting the chairmanship as the association had agreed earlier that the post would not be contested.

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