Police ban anti-third term vets faction meeting



Pamenus Tuso

Bulawayo—Police in Bulawayo last week banned a planned meeting of a faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) that is opposed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s third term bid.

The feedback meeting was scheduled to take place last Saturday at Stanley Square in the second capital, but police wrote to the faction led by Andrease Mathibela, accusing it of being illegitimate.

Bulawayo West officer commanding district, Chief Superintendent Kennedy Nyaumwe, issued a prohibition order against the intended meeting.

Currently, there are three factions claiming control of the ZNLWVA and they are led by former minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, Moffat Marashwa and Mathibela.

An elective congress that was first slated for mid-June was postponed due to the bickering among the factions.

The High Court recently issued an interim order to stop the Mutsvangwa faction from holding the elective congress due to the disagreements between the factions on who are the legitimate representatives of the Zanu PF-affiliated veterans grouping.

On 21 June, High Court judge Philda Muzofa issued a provisional order that declared the Marashwa faction as the legitimate grouping, hence the ban on Mutsvangwa and his cronies.

Nyaumwe cited the same ruling in his provision order, saying the Mathibela faction could not claim to represent the association and expressed fear that the meeting could lead to “extensive damage to property (and) serious injuries or loss of lives”.

“In that regard, the Zimbabwe Republic Police respects the judge’s decision and upholds the rule of law. Now , therefore, I as the regulating officer do hereby issue this prohibition notice in terms of Section 8(9) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Chapter 11:2) prohibiting the holding of public gathering scheduled for 29 June at Stanley Square , Makokoba Bulawayo from 1000 hours to 1300 hours ,” says the prohibition order.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre after the ban, Mathibela expressed surprise at the ban and accused the police of targeting his faction.

“We have been barred seven times by ZRP from holding our meetings. We are told there is a threat and there are no explanations of what threat. We have been provoked (sic),” said Mathibela.

He queried why Douglas Mahiya, the ruling Zanu PF war veterans welfare secretary who is reported to be aligned to the Mutsvangwa faction, was allowed to address members of the association last Saturday despite the High Court ruling.

The Mutsvangwa faction is said to support President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to extend his tenure beyond 2028 when his last and final term expires.

However, Mathibela in March vowed that his faction would strongly resist Mnangagwa’s third term bid.

“Ironically, the day when the prohibition order was issued, Mahiya was actually in Chiredzi addressing a campaign meeting. This is despite a promise by two cabinet ministers to unite war veterans,” said Mathibela at last week’s presser.

In late May, Monica Mavhunga, the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs minister, called on the warring factions to unite before the elective congress could be convened.

Mahiya and the deputy minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lovemore Matuke, were present when she made the call.

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