A group of war veterans aligned to the G40 ZANU PF faction has claimed a takeover of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) as President Robert Mugabe's succession row continues.
The group called a press conference in Harare Wednesday where they declared the ouster of the ZNLWVA executive led by former cabinet minister Chris Mutsvangwa.
The move likely defies a court order barring the removal of Mutsvangwa and his team from the helm of the association.
Mutsvangwa's execuitve has publicly backed Zanu PF's Lacoste faction leader, vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, to take-over from the 93-year-old Mugabe.
They however, angered the veteran leader after a communique was issued condemning his 37-year stewardship of the country as incompetent, and also questioning his war record.
Lately, some members of the executive further enraged the first family by insulting Mugabe's wife as an incompetent mother for allegedly failing to control her scandal-prone younger sons.
This resulted in Mugabe pushing for reconstitution of the war veterans' national executive; and loyalist former fighters obliged the near-centenarian leader Wednesday.
The group told a press conference at a Harare hotel that Patrick Nyaruwata, a Zanu PF central committee member, had been appointed the interim chairperson of ZNLWVA, adding that he would be deputised by George Mlala.
The two are foot soldiers of the G40 faction which has the support of the First Family and supposedly backs defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi to succeed Mugabe.
Other members of the new executive include Joel Mazhamba, who comes in as political commissar, treasurer Robert Ncube and Michael Mapfumo, who is the new secretary general.
The group insisted that they were acting at the behest of an executive order issued by Mugabe who is the ZNLWVA patron.
They claimed that a similar executive order brought the Chris Mutsvangwa executive into power after the ouster of former chairman Jabulani Sibanda, adding that the same method was now being used to again reconstitute the association's executive.
"Having agreed today, as members of the national executive, that Christopher Mutsvangwa, Headman Moyo, Victor Matemadanda, Francis Nhando and Zenzo Moyo have become rogue elements within the revolutionary association and also putting into cognizance that the so-called gang of five has personalized ZNLWVA, we have therefore decided to act," explained Nyaruwata.
"We are therefore summarily suspending these Cdes from representing the association at any level."