Ex-liberation fighters aligned to the generation (G40) Zanu PF faction have tipped Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu to replace Christopher Mutsvangwa as chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation and War Veterans Association.
This follows President Robert Mugabe’s directive last month that the war veterans’ leadership backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions be removed from office.
The war vets had announced their disengagement with the 92 year-old ruler, citing his alleged dictatorial tendencies and failure to fix the prevailing economic crisis.
However, there have been concerns that of all the members of the war vets faction led by Manicaland Provincial minister Mandi Chimene had questionable war credentials, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by their rivals led by Mutsvangwa.
While Chimene refused to discuss the impending coming on board of Shamu saying “I do not want to be forced into that discussion”, sources privy to the goings on in the camp said the move was meant “to counter the Team Lacoste claims”.
“Everybody is agreed that Shamu is probably the only war veteran who is acceptable to all former freedom fighters because his credentials are not in doubt and he has also not engaged in fights with anyone, so his leadership will disarm the Mutsvangwa group that has been saying Chimene and her faction are not genuine,” the insider said.
Another Zanu PF insider added that a recent move by Zanu PF to have Shamu, whose political life has been hanging in the balance in the past two years, was part of the strategy.
“The first thing that the war veterans have done is to push the Mashonaland West Provincial executive to recommend that Shamu’s case be dropped and that he be brought back to the fold.
“Now what is left is for the politburo to endorse the recommendation while the process leading to the war veterans congress is finalised and by then, Shamu will be ready for the post.”
Shamu was slapped with a five-year suspension from Zanu PF after he was accused of backing ousted former Vice President Joice Mujuru — now leader of Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) opposition party.
The G40 camp has of late been wooing back former Mujuru sympathisers, especially MPs, to boost their numbers in the face of bruising battle for control of the party against Mnangagwa and his allies.
One other perceived Mujuru ally, former Labour minister Nicholas Goche, has since been reinstated in Zanu PF.
Goche was along with Shamu and several other senior officials suspended last year on allegations of working with Mujuru in a plot to assassinate Mugabe.
About 50 members including the likes of former Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema, the majority of who were perceived allies of the ZPF leader have appealed against their suspension and expulsion. Daily News