DAGGERS are drawn in the war veterans’ association ahead of its congress over the sensitive issue of electing a new chairman, which has a bearing on Zanu PF’s succession deb
The conference is scheduled for the end of the month but no definite date has been set.
The war veterans’ body is deeply divided over the election of a chairman. At the same time, interference by Zanu PF bigwigs as they seek alliances among war veterans in the succession struggle has taken a toll on its structures.
War veterans acting chairman Patrick Nyaruwata last week confirmed that dates for the congress were still not known.
“The dates will be announced later,” said Nyaruwata. “But the congress is on this month in Mutare.”
“We requested $72 million from the party (Zanu PF) and were promised that it would come,” he said.
War veterans are expected to play a major role in the Mugabe succession battle, also likely to feature prominently at the Zanu PF conference next month.
War veterans’ secretary-general Andy Mhlanga admitted that there was infighting over the Mugabe succession issue as well as the choosing of a chairman.
“It is true that factions have emerged over Mugabe’s successor,” said Mhlanga. “People have been campaigning for various candidates,” he said.
“The same goes for the issue of choosing a chairman, which will however be deliberated on at the congress and hopefully in an amicable manner.”
Nyaruwata promised “miracles” over the succession issue.
“It is still premature to discuss that issue (succession). The president is still alive. But when the time comes, you will see miracles. I can assure you from the point of view of war veterans that there will be miracles,” he said without elaborating.
War veterans have not had a substantive head since the death in June 2001 of controversial chairman Chenjerai Hunzvi.
Nyaruwata has been campaigning for the chairmanship, as are former Harare council security guard Joseph Chinotimba and Bulawayo-based Jabulani Sibanda.
In what is believed to be a Nyaruwata coup, both Chinotimba and Sibanda were declared by the executive to be ineligible to contest elections on allegations of indiscipline. Chinotimba and Sibanda are allegedly aligned to Zanu PF secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been tipped to succeed Mugabe.