By Griffiths Ncube
IN an embarrassing turn of events, Chris Mutsvangwa yesterday blamed opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, the G40 and some “sympathetic police officers” for the arrest of nine war veterans.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) boss said Chamisa has captured some members of the police and caused the arrest of war veterans so aa to put a wedge between former freedom fighters and their patron, President Mnangagwa.
“It has since emerged that some shadowy G40 elements were working in cahoots with the Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance fuelled the arrests on Thursday in a futile attempt to drive a wedge between the ex-combatants and their Patron, the President.
“The arrest of the nine comrades was stage-managed by the G40 and Chamisa as they desperately try to infiltrate our wing,” Mutsvangwa told the State-owned The Herald.
“This was after another attempt to have G40 elements included in the War Veterans League was thwarted with the party indicating that they will be elections,” Mutsvangwa added.
The nine war veterans were arrested after they protested over poor pensions at the offices of Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube Wednesday afternoon. Police rounded them up and placed them in jail for 30 hours, only to release them in Thursday late night.
“They went and instigated the arrest of the war veterans in collaboration with some police officers. The Patron of the war veterans (President Mnangagwa) had nothing to do with the arrest,” Mutsvangwa fumed.
“It was stage managed to tarnish the President, the relations between him and the war veterans.”
Mutsvangwa said Chamisa and G40 engaged some sympathetic police officers who rounded up the nine former combatants and arrested them on charges of inciting public violence.
“These are works of G40 elements. Some people think they can be a Chenjerai Hunzvi reincarnation but that will never happen. Chairman Hunzvi had genuine grievances against Mugabe but these people have no grounds.
“They are conjurers of imagery discontent, fantasising being latter-day Chairman Hunzvi founder of ZNLWVA,” said Mutsvangwa.
He described their arrest as “the latest attempts to divide war veterans by some G40 elements and the opposition, who instigated the arrests of former fighters seeking an upward review of their allowances”.
Police called their lawyers, the Zimbabwe Human Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), and told them to take away the war veterans saying they no longer needed to press charges.
Mutsvangwa could not say who gave the police orders to release the war veterans, but only said it had been established that the charges against the former freedom fighters were baseless.
The nine war veterans: Wonderful Kabarauta, Faith Chananda, Nyasha Mangena, Shorai Nyamangudo, Isso Madzivanyika, Daphne Kanoti, Mazikana Marron, Sthyine Maphosa and Jordan Mberadzina.
Mutsvangwa insisted that the release of the nine on Thursday night had nothing to do with ZLHR but was upon the realisation that they had not committed any offense when they sought to engage the Minister of Finance. □