Rogue war veterans led by Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa have come under fire for trying to hoodwink innocent war veterans into attending an unsanctioned meeting, which they claimed had the blessing of war vets’ patron, President Mugabe.
It, however, emerged that the real objective of the meeting was to denigrate President Mugabe and set in motion the rogues’ plans for an alternative opposition coalition.
A source close to developments indicated that Mr Mutsvangwa and his group were mooting an alternative opposition coalition to the one being touted by MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and planned to appoint a leader from within their ranks, failing which they would serenade businessman Mr Strive Masiyiwa to lead.
This comes amid revelations that neither President Mugabe — in his capacity as patron — nor the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees had anything to do with the indaba.
Police have also made it clear that the planned gathering had not been cleared after Mr Mutsvangwa and crew failed to furnish them with the required information.
In February last year, the Mutsvangwa-led cabal organised an unsanctioned gathering of war veterans that degenerated into running battles with anti-riot police that left hundreds of innocent war veterans injured in Harare after tear smoke and water cannons were used.
In a statement on Wednesday, Secretary for Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Brigadier-General Walter Tapfumaneyi said a meeting for the war veterans and their patron President Mugabe had been set for the first two weeks of April.
“The ministry, therefore, urges all veterans of the liberation struggle not to attend any other meeting that may be convened without its authority purporting either to be preparing for the President’s April meeting or falsely claiming that the President is its host and keynote speaker,” said Brig Gen Tapfumaneyi.
“In the interim, the ministry wishes to reassure all war veterans that the President, the ruling party Zanu-PF and the Cabinet are actively seized with all their concerns as captured comprehensively in the resolutions of their epic meeting with the President on April 7, 2016.
“Veterans of the liberation struggle must, accordingly, take heed of and embrace this constructive and responsible approach to addressing their concerns.
“This meeting, along the precedent set in the inaugural meeting held on April 7, 2016, will review the implementation of the resolutions of the first meeting and discuss further all outstanding issues relevant to the welfare, economic empowerment and socio-political situation of war veterans.”
Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said it was the sole responsibility of the ministry to organise such high level meetings.
Police in Harare dismissed as false, reports in the media that they had allowed the war veterans to meet for their indaba in the city.
In a statement yesterday, Harare provincial spokesperson Assistant Inspector Tarirai Dube, said the war veterans had to comply with the provisions of the law to conduct their meeting.
Contacted for a comment yesterday, Mr Mutsvangwa denied ever calling a meeting in the name of President Mugabe and that they were mooting to form a coalition.
“We are an autonomous association and we hold our meetings according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe as adopted in 2013. It is not the case that we have invited President Mugabe to our meeting but what we have done is to invite all war veterans across the country regardless of their station. (Brig Gen) Tapfumaneyi is trying to use powers of a civil servant to become an alternative centre of power.”
Mr Mutsvangwa said they had rescheduled their meeting to iron out administrative and technical issues raised by the police.
He claimed that it appeared like the police were under pressure from Brig Gen Tapfumaneyi not to clear their meeting. -The Herald