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War vets defy Mugabe

Gift Phiri/Loughty Dube

IN what appears to be open defiance of President Robert Mugabe’s orders, war veterans in the three Matabeleland provinces have said they do not recognise the interim chairman An

drew Ndlovu and his organising committee, insisting that dismissed chairperson Jabulani Sibanda is still their leader.

Mugabe suspended Sibanda from the ruling Zanu PF for four years after he attended an unauthorised meeting in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North. Also suspended from the party were six party provincial chairpersons while Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who reportedly called the meeting, was reprimanded and faces further censure.

War veterans district leaders from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, meeting in Bulawayo last weekend, re-affirmed their support for the Sibanda-led executive and denounced Ndlovu as a nonentity in the national association.

“We do not know Andrew Ndlovu,” one district leader said. “What is he reforming in the war veterans association and on whose behalf is he doing that? He should go back to those that sent him and tell them that we do not want him to intervene in our affairs.”

Ndlovu this week claimed that he was tasked by Mugabe to re-organise the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, a claim that was dismissed by war veterans leaders at the Bulawayo meeting.

“As the legitimate interim chairman of the association, I was tasked by President Mugabe to re-organise the party and those that are claiming that I am illegitimate are the same people who plotted the Tsholotsho attempted coup. But as it stands, I am in charge of the association,” Ndlovu said.

President Mugabe is the patron of the war veterans.

However, party insiders this week said Ndlovu was acting on the instructions of Vice-President Joseph Msika who has openly clashed with Sibanda on numerous occasions.

“The participation of Jabulani Sibanda, Chinotimba and other misguided elements in an attempt to stage a coup d’état against our revolutionary presidium and party is to us a matter of life and death. It (is) aimed at causing bloodshed and suffering among our people,” Ndlovu said in a statement last week.

“As ex-officio members of the war veterans we have declared a vote of no confidence in the leadership of rebels Jabulani Sibanda and Chinotimba and all members who attended and took part in the Tsholotsho Declaration.”

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