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Sidelined ZIPRA cadres hit out at Mnangagwa and Mutsvangwa veterans group

28/12/2017 00:00:00
by Bulawayo Correspondent
Not happy with Mnangagwa and his allies ... ZIPRA chairman Ben Ncube

“Partially, as ex-ZIPRA combatants we are happy that some of our comrades have been recognised but our major worry is that all those people come from Midlands. Mnangangwa should never practice regionalism like what Mugabe used to do."

ZIPRA war veterans are furious with President Emmerson Mnangagwa for allegedly side-lining them when dishing out the spoils of last month’s military coup which they claim to have helped engineer.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, ZIPRA war veterans’ chairman Ben Ncube accused Mnangagwa regionalism after promoting mostly people from his Midlands province. ZIPRA was the fighting arm of PF Zapu, a faction of which is now led by Dumiso Dabengwa.

A shock revolt by the military mid-last month resulted in former President Robert Mugabe resigning after he was subsequently rejected by his own Zanu PF party with liberation war veterans leading in mobilising mass support for the coup.

His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa promptly rewarded leaders of the coup with Zimbabwe Defences Forces (ZDF) chief General Constantino Chiwenga retiring to be appointed Zanu PF and State vice president.

Former national army commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda took over as new ZDF while coup spokesman Major General Sibusiso Moyo was appointed foreign affairs minister. Sibanda and Moyo are both former ZIPRA cadres.

However, ZIPRA war veterans’ chair Ben Ncube said Moyo and Sibanda’s promotions were not necessarily about ZIPRA.

“Partially, as ex-ZIPRA combatants we are happy that some of our comrades have been recognised but our major worry is that all those people come from Midlands,” he said.

“Mnangangwa should never practice regionalism like what Mugabe used to do. Regionalism can be a serious threat to peace in the country.”

Ncube said they had hoped that Mnangagwa would appoint a more inclusive post-Mugabe government.

“Actual, we are not happy with what (President) Mnangagwa did. We thought everybody including civic organisations was going to be included in the new government.”

The ZIPRA chief said they were not getting the credit they disserved for working with the Chris Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) to engineer Mugabe’s ouster.


“We started this programme together,” Ncube explained.

“We agreed to have a working structure to remove the former president and make sure that we pave the way for ED and Dabengwa to clear the mercy in the country.

“This is what we agreed with ZANLA guys but unfortunately immediately when we wanted to carry out the final push on 18 November by marching to State House to remove Mugabe that programme was hijacked by Zanu PF though we had mobilised multitudes of people.”

Ncube said he took over leadership of the war veterans’ part in the ouster of Mugabe after Mustvangwa escaped to South Africa fearing arrest.

“When Mutsvangwa skipped outside the country after threats of arrest, I worked very closely with his executive as well as the ZIPRA combatants.

“The unfortunate thing is that I think someone misinformed Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa was not told the truth that Mugabe’s removal was a collective effort by everybody including all the people of Zimbabwe.

“We get upset when the army and ZANLA cadres are glorified for removing Mugabe yet it we were also part of the programme.”

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