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Covid-19: War vets seek ED nod on congress

CHENGETAI ZVAUYA

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) will seek the nod from its patron President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hold an elective congress in November following restrictions in place to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has seen the government banning gatherings of more than 50 people, closing schools, universities and colleges and made the wearing of masks mandatory.

The mandate of the Chris Mutsvangwa’s executive is set to end next month and the association has slated a congress in Matabeleland North in November, according to ZNLWVA secretary general Victor Matemadanda.

“We are going to consult our patron President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the way forward and seek guidance whether we can continue with holding the elective congress as we are currently under Covid-19 restrictions,” Matemadanda said.

Over 5, 000 delegates are expected to attend the elective and choose new leadership. Government through the ministry of Health banned public gathering and crowding as a measure of containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic with the limitation of public gathering not exceeding 50 people.

The Mutsvangwa executive was elected in 2014 in Masvingo, taking over from Jabulani Sibanda’s executive.

Sibanda fell out of favour of the war veterans when he accused former First Lady Grace Mugabe of initiating a bedroom coup by attacking party members belonging to a faction led by then Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Mujuru and senior members of the faction such as Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo were expelled from Zanu PF at the height of the party’s factional fights.

Sibanda, Mutasa and Gumbo were readmitted into Zanu PF.

Some of the ZNLWVA executive members who will be contested are deputy chairperson Headman Moyo, Matemadanda and Douglas Mahiya, ZNLWVA secretary for information and Publicity.

“We are ready for the congress and to face elections and all the top posts will be contested,” Matemadanda said.

He said that ZNLWA executive led by Mutsvangwa and Moyo were popular with the war veterans’ electorate and were likely to be retained in their posts.

Some of the war veterans who are interested in contesting for the national executive posts are Patrick Nyaruwata and Andy Mhlanga who are former national chairperson and secretary general respectively.

Mhlanga said he would contest for a post if nominated by the provinces.

“I am not going to impose myself without the support of the war veterans,” Mhlanga said.

The role of the war veterans has proven to be vital in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

The war vets are an affiliate of the governing Zanu PF and have been instrumental in drumming support for the party during election times.

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