War vets give Zanu PF renewed strength President Mnangagwa acknowledges thousands of war veterans who gathered for the official opening of Zanu PF War Veterans League Inaugural Conference at Harare International Conference Centre yesterday.

Farirayi Machivenyika Senior Reporter

THE indomitable spirit of war veterans, coupled with their sacrifices over the years and sheer force of determination, can inspire Zimbabwe towards upper middle-class economic status by 2030, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President, himself a decorated veteran of the liberation struggle, said ex-combatants remained vital in driving the country in the quest to achieve its objectives through offering leadership in communities and also at the national level.

Officially opening the inaugural elective Zanu PF War Veterans League conference at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the ruling party and Government continued to treasure their contribution to the country’s political sphere and quest to realise sustainable socio-economic development.

“After all, it is you, our war veterans, who have always provided leadership and responded decisively during the various periods of asymmetrical socio-economic and political attacks by our erstwhile detractors,” he said.

“You remain the source of inspiration that must help propel our party and give confidence to all our people to drive the national development agenda forward, towards Vision 2030. Let us, therefore, never abdicate the responsibility to inculcate patriotism, loyalty, hard-honest work, sacrifice and self-belief among the younger generation.

“In every circumstance, I challenge us to be exemplary and the embodiment of the Party’s ideology, national character, culture and value system. I recognise and commend you for your continued participation in various national events and programmes that are aimed at immortalising our rich history and collective memory.”

President Mnangagwa challenged the war veterans to objectively and correctly record the liberation war history to enrich the nation’s political consciousness, now and into the future.

He said on its part, the Government was undertaking a comprehensive programme to preserve and safeguard the liberation sites and rich liberation war heritage including hosting the Museum of African Liberation.

The President also said he was aware of the challenges being faced with regard to the exhumations and reburials of fallen heroes and heroines and had directed the relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to proactively deal with these and other related matters.

“The presence of members of the League throughout our communities must effectively be harnessed to mobilise the masses in the implementation of Party and Government policies and programmes.

“In close collaboration with other Leagues of the Party, I challenge the Veterans League to sharpen mobilisation strategies so that our grassroots are better equipped to guard, defend and preserve our independence, democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

President Mnangagwa, who is also Zanu PF’s First Secretary, congratulated the War Veterans League for the successful and peaceful manner they conducted their elective district andprovincial conferences.

He said the election of a woman veteran, Cde Linda Mutate, as Chairman of the War Veterans League in Manicaland Province, along with many others who constitute the League’s structures at Provincial and District levels, was a demonstration of the gendered nature of the struggle for independence.

“It reinforces the fact that both men and women played their part in dismantling the oppressive white colonial regime. Similarly, in the present national development epoch, all of us have a role to play, regardless of gender, in building our motherland, Zimbabwe.

“Comrades; The strong relationship that exists between our revolutionary military wings, ZANLA and ZIPRA, now constituted as the War Veterans League, is enduring and unbreakable.

“Together, veterans were the force that brought about our independence, sovereignty, democracy and freedom. You are permanently connected to the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe and instrumental for the realisation of the overall aims and objectives of the Party as outlined in our Constitution,” President Mnangagwa said.

Turning to issues concerning the war veterans’ welfare, the President said the conference came at an opportune time when the implementation of economic empowerment programmes meant to improve their livelihoods had gathered momentum.

He added that Government was doing its best to address their plight even though the visible and unseen scars from the protracted liberation struggle cannot be restituted by any amount of financial and non-monetary benefits.

“However, as a listening and responsive Administration and in line with Section 23 of our National Constitution, plans are in place to ensure that you have access to quality and affordable services as well as the respect, dignity, and recognition due to you, as the veterans of our great country.

“To date, the now functional Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board is setting up productive ventures across various sectors of the economy.

“These will not only improve the welfare of our veterans but also that of their families and dependents,” President Mnangagwa said.

Additionally, he said, Government was availing seed capital to capacitate the Veterans Investment Corporation Holding Company that was established last year.

The President challenged the Board to work closely with the League for the increased participation of veterans in the mainstream economy.

“All sectors are open for you to establish viable and profitable business enterprises. Yesterday, we were our own liberators; today, our country’s development agenda and realities obligate us to scale up the implementation of socio-economic programmes and projects as we journey to make Zimbabwe a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society. Guided by our philosophy, “Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe liyakhiwa, libuswa ngabanikazi balo”, he said.

President Mnangagwa said their harsh experiences in the liberation struggle should, “serve as a constant reminder that none but ourselves, the people of Zimbabwe, can realise the future we all want not just for us, but also for future generations”.

“As veterans may we once again pledge that our blood and sweat, shall be found under the Flag of Zimbabwe. “Ropa redu munoriwana pasi peMureza we Zimbabwe,” he said.

The President applauded war veterans for their resilience as the country continues to triumph over the hegemonic tendencies of detractors and called on them to continue rejecting and resisting their deleterious machinations.

“The evil colonial system never crushed our resolve to be an independent people. Similarly, their illegal heinous sanctions will never defeat our determination to modernise, industrialise and lift many of our people out of poverty into prosperity,” he said.


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