Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday said people pushing for the ouster of zanu-pf national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere were loyalists of war veterans leader Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa with an agenda to replace him with their person.
The VP was speaking at a meeting with former Zipra and zapu members at Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo where he said Cde Kasukuwere’s woes had nothing to do with zanu-pf.
Cde Kasukuwere has come under fire from all zanu-pf provinces calling for his ouster on allegations of trying to topple the President.
“The Kasukuwere war is not about Zanu-PF. The Kasukuwere issue is between him and Mutsvangwa not Kasukuwere and zanu-pf. They want to infiltrate you because Mutsvangwa wants to put their person,” said VP Mphoko.
He questioned the energy that is being put in pushing for Cde Kasukuwere’s ouster saying the same provinces are silent when some individuals insult President Mugabe and the First Lady.
“How genuine are those people? They never speak when the President is being insulted. They just say Kasukuwere must be fired at the same time they are the people who allow people to insult the President. We’ve seen such things. Umlilo wamaphepha. Lingethuselwa likhasi lenyoka. (This is a passing phase. Don’t be frightened by a paper tiger),” said VP Mphoko.
He asked why security forces were not taking action when their Commander-in-Chief, President Mugabe, is being insulted.
“What is happening now is that the youths are insulting the President. Insulting the First Lady but nothing, zero is happening. President Mugabe is an elder, in Government. He is the Head of the State and in military he is the Commander-in-Chief. How is the military feeling when their Commander-in-Chief is being dangled like a thing?” he quizzed.
He described Mr Victor Matemadanda as a renegade war veteran whose behaviour is similar to that of Rhodesian Selous Scouts.
VP Mphoko said war veterans also have a duty to protect their patron from those insulting him.
“Where do you get the pride to call yourself a war veteran when the President is insulted and you say nothing? You should not allow people to insult the President. I’m embarrassed that the President is insulted in my presence. War veterans must take action,” said VP Mphoko.
The war veterans who were at the meeting, led by Cde George Mlala, pledged to defend the President.
Others asked how Mr Mutsvangwa, a former minister and zanu-pf official, and his group continued to lead war veterans when it was public knowledge that they insult President Mugabe.
“When Jabulani Sibanda insulted the President he was fired from his position but these ones are not fired. Why?” asked one of the war veterans.
Meanwhile, VP Mphoko, also speaking at Castle Arms Motel, urged ex-Zipra combatants to expedite the identification of their properties saying President Mugabe was eager to ensure that they benefit from their assets.
“The national healing and reconciliation process entails returning seized properties to their rightful owners,” he said.
The cadres lost properties at the height of the country’s disturbances in the early 1980s.
The VP said it was sad that some former Zipra and zapu members were living in poverty when they made investments.
VP Mphoko said he presented the plight of the cadres to President Mugabe, who expressed willingness to see them getting their property back.
The assets include buildings and farms and Castle Arms Motel which is located in Richmond suburb.
“The people who bought these properties are struggling yet they made an investment. The Zipra and zapu properties are dotted across the country. So some of the men approached me saying they are living in poverty and it was saddening that they have properties they are not benefiting from. I took their messages to the President telling him of their problems,” said VP Mphoko.
He said President Mugabe listened to their concerns and urged them to identify the properties before they are released to them.
VP Mphoko said he informed a team that includes Retired Brigadier-General Abel Mazinyane to assist in the identification of the properties.
“I’m waiting for that list. zapu has properties all over the country. The President is ready but you are dragging me behind. I’m giving you a week to provide me with the list,” said VP Mphoko.
He said the properties should benefit cadres regardless of their political affiliation.
He said after the identification process was completed, all the former Zipra and zapu members should convene a meeting where it would be decided how the assets should be administered for their benefit.