9 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Politburo Meets As War Vets, Army in Cold War

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will Wednesday chair Zanu PF's second politburo meeting since he took over power in November last year amid rumblings over the share of "spoils" in the post Mugabe fall.

Although some of the generals are themselves war veterans, there is a feeling that the military and those who have recently left the ZDF seem to be in full control pushing out (ZNLWA) activists.

Top Zanu PF sources told New Zimbabwe that Mnangagwa has "delicate issues" to deal with and might have to do a juggling act in the process.

"It has not been easy and it's not going to be easy going forward. There is an undeclared war between war veterans and the military. That has to be resolved and the war veterans seem to have been frozen out of the party and government except for a few guys," said a source.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the meeting but refused to discuss the agenda.

"There is a politburo meeting tomorrow (Wednesday). I am, however, not at liberty to discuss the agenda because it's not within my purview. The secretary for administration (Obert Mpofu) would be best qualified for that," said Khaya Moyo.

Sources said Zanu PF's restructuring exercise begins in earnest on January 12.

As if to confirm the "cold war" between war veterans and the military, the ZNLWVA spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, was forced to flee for his life after being attacked by Zanu PF activists linked to a serving general.

"In Harare South Mahiya was forced to flee by an army Major and that guy has not been censured. It shows those that are in power now are happy with such actions. War veterans in Mashonaland Central have been frozen out of Zanu PF structures by people using senior military leaders like retired Air Marshal Perrance Shiri (Agriculture Minister) and Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga," a source told New Zimbabwe.

Mahiya said the issue was being handled internally.

"We are dealing with it as Zanu PF and we will find a solution. We cannot prescribe agendas to the politburo as war veterans but hope this important organ of the party will deal with issues that are important to the party ahead of elections to create a united force," said Mahiya.

Another source said Zanu PF has since agreed to guarantee war veterans specific positions.

"War veterans have been offered three key position, the chairperson, commissar and secretary for security from the cell to province. These will be contested by war veterans. However the problem is that the military wants to muscle its way and decide which members should take up these positions and not the association (ZNLWVA). It's a source of conflict that needs a solution quickly," said a senior war veteran.

Zanu PF national commissar Retired Lieutenant General Engelbert Rugeje was not available for comment as was the party's secretary for war veterans Victor Matemadanda.

Matemadanda also serves as ZNLWVA secretary general.

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