Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda says the association's chairman, Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, should stop dragging his name into his fights to do with the fuel business.
Cde Matemadanda said he would not defend anyone on anything except President Mnangagwa.
His remarks come in the wake of claims by Cde Mutsvangwa, as quoted in some sections of the media over the weekend, that Cde Matemadanda was gunning for Cde Mutsvangwa's position and was sponsoring provinces to recall him.
So far Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East have resolved to recall Cde Mutsvangwa as chairman of the association with other provinces saying they will meet over the matter.
In an interview yesterday, Cde Matemadanda said he was being persecuted for refusing to comment on the position taken by Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.
"It's known that for me to have problems with former president (Mr Robert Mugabe) it was because I had taken a position defending (Cde) Mutsvangwa," said Cde Matemadanda.
"In our association, if a chairman comes from ZANU, it has to follow that the next chairman be from Zapu. By virtue of having been the most senior in terms of structure from the ZANLA side, if Mutsvangwa was removed during the G40 era, I was going to be the next chairman, but I refused that.
"We are scheduled for elections next year (and) if I refused the chairmanship five years ago, it will be stupid for me to be interested in that position six months before the elections.
"When Mashonaland West announced that they now want Mutsvangwa to be recalled, Mutsvangwa's wife called me at midnight saying what is your take? I said, I spent five years fighting Mugabe and now I want to work for my family.
"I don't want to be dragged into issues of fuel that we are hearing that there are certain people who want to invest in that sector. I have nothing to do with those wars (and) I don't want to be involved. The fact that I refused to comment on the position taken by Mashonaland West is the reason why they are saying it's me who is interested in the chairmanship post.
"The stupidity of whoever is saying that is, the constitution is very clear that if Mutsvangwa steps down today, his deputy is the one who takes over until we elect a new chairman."
Cde Matemadanda said he could not be bothered by Cde Mutsvangwa saying he (Mutsvangwa) had not been attending meetings of the national executive since mid-last year.
"We last had a meeting of the national executive chaired by Mutsvangwa around July last year," he said.
"After the November march going forward, we never had a national executive meeting chaired by Cde Mutsvangwa. All meetings have been chaired by Cde Headman Moyo and we never had any problem.
"What makes them think that I am interested in his position is the fact that I refused to comment on the position taken by Mashonaland West. I don't want anyone's approval for me to take a position of my choice.
"I have power in the association as secretary-general and I did not get that position because of whoever is saying that. I was elected by the people and I serve the people who elected me. As for Mutsvangwa, you know I saved him.
"He was fired from the party and I was also subsequently fired as a result of the position I took to support him. It's just a big insult to say that I now want the chairmanship post six months before the elections. That's stupid.
" . . . (Acie) Lumumba said Mutsvangwa has his own people who want to invest in the fuel industry and are fighting others who are already in that industry. I have nothing to do with that and I am not going to involve myself in that.
"I am a simple farmer in Gokwe. I have no investment in the fuel industry or a relative with a service station. I don't have an interest in the fuel industry which they are fighting for. So, they should not drag me into their wars.
"I don't want to be involved and I am not going to fight for anyone this time around. If I am to fight, it has to be for the President because I have to defend my President, not any other person. If I am interested in the chairmanship post, it's me who administered the constitution of the association, I know the procedure to follow. If I am interested, I will contest at the right time. It's me who calls for elections, so we don't have problems about holding elections and Mutsvangwa cannot be a threat to me because he has not been attending meetings of the national executive since mid-last year. So, what is his problem with me? I was calling him and he was not answering my calls and I told the vice-chairman, so should I follow him to his house?"
Cde Matemadanda continued: "People who said Mutsvangwa must go are from Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East, but he does not want to confront them. Do I sit in the provincial meetings of those provinces? Anyone who proposes anything against Mutsvangwa then that person belongs to Matemadanda?
"That is nonsense. When I was elected, as part of my mandate people did not say I should go and defend an individual. If an individual started his wars, he should finish them instead of dragging everyone. Who doesn't know that this whole matter has to do with the fuel business and nothing else?"
Cde Matemadanda said he was aware that there were some elements fighting him at the party headquarters who wanted him to be removed as the secretary-general of the ZNLWVA.
"I was not appointed by Mutsvangwa. I was not appointed by any national executive member. I was appointed by the President," he said.
"I will defend the President and not Mutsvangwa. I have nothing to do with him and we have not spoken and I have never had any problem with him."