Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
All is set for the crunch meeting between President Mugabe and war veterans today with the country’s liberators pledging their loyalty to the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The meeting is set for the City Sports Centre in Harare from 9am to around 8pm.
About 10 000 war veterans from the country’s 10 provinces were already in the capital by yesterday.
Accreditation of Harare delegates and journalists was progressing well.
The meeting will be attended by about 10 000 out of about 34 000 living war veterans.
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Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees permanent secretary Brigadier-General (Retired) Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi said it was all systems go for the crunch indaba.
“Things are falling into place now after a delay caused by lack of resources,” he said. “I can safely say everything is in place now. About 90 percent of the delegates who are expected to attend the meeting are already in Harare,” he said yesterday. “However, we still have colleagues that are being picked up now in Matabeleland North and South, part of Bulawayo and Masvingo. We have been advised that the buses have arrived in those areas so we expect them tonight.”
Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said war veterans were expected to work overnight on the thematic areas that have been identified.
He said thematic groups were expected to deliberate for about four hours before breaking into plenary.
“The plenary will then come up with resolutions and the way forward. This will make tomorrow’s programme to run smoothly.
“The programme will start around 9am but the President will come between that time and 11am depending on protocol.
“The President will listen to the reports of the various thematic discussions and resolutions. He will then respond to the issues raised.”
“At this meeting, we expect that all issues affecting the war veterans will be tabled and discussed in a mature and organised manner. The intention is to raise our concerns with the leadership. It’s not about quarrelling at all. We love our President, he is our patron and we support him 100 percent,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi.
He said the meeting also presented a get-together opportunity for war veterans, some of whom had last seen each other during the liberation struggle.
“This is indeed a rare reunion because we are seeing each other after so many years. This will definitely see us go down memory lane as we share experiences that we had when we were still young. It’s really an emotive reunion,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi.
Each district is supposed to provide 50 members and another 55 members who may not be members of the association, but composed of categories like High Command, General Staff, field commanders in the liberation struggle.
Any war veteran who had a part in the liberation war — female combatants, wounded comrades — is legible for selection by the Joint Operations Command process, 55 per district. The first meeting in February was aborted after it was unprocedurally convened.
He said a lot of entertainment had been lined up meaning they might finish around 8pm.