War vets in historic meet War vets sing at the City Sports Centre

Herald Reporters
It was an historic moment yesterday when freedom fighters mingled with their patron President Mugabe in Harare to discuss, among other things, their welfare and challenges bedevilling Zanu-PF.

A capacity crowd of 10 000 delegates attended the event that was convened at the behest of the President.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Cde Mabel Chinomona punctuated the event with liberation war melodies that invoked the spirit of the liberation struggle.

Chimurenga songs such as Sendekera Mukoma, Zimbabwe Tatora and Vaitongera Favour provoked deep memories in the minds of many comrades.

President Mugabe arrived at the meeting flanked by his two deputies Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko followed by security ministers Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Kembo Mohadi (State Security), Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs) and Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube (Welfare Services for War Veterans, Ex Detainees and Restrictees.)

During the meeting, the war veterans presented a raft of challenges they were facing ranging from statutory benefits, economic empowerment to preferential treatment on economic opportunities and indigenisation.

“Schools have been chasing away our children because of non-payment of school fees,” read their resolutions.

“We also want a 20 percent quota of the Presidential Scholarship and the $260 we are getting as pension is too little and need an upward review. Most of the comrades need hearing aids and also to be taken to specialists.”

The war veterans also said they wanted preferential appointments to posts such as ambassadors, chief executive officers, commissioners, permanent secretaries among other senior Government positions.

“Veterans of the liberation struggle should be exempted from paying land taxes on allocated land,” they said.

“While war veterans are entitled to 20 percent of all land acquired by Government for recognition of their role in liberating this country, some war vets have remained without land.

“Our empowerment will ensure stability of the country arguing that their current state is not reflective of their historic contributions to the liberation of the country.”

In response, President Mugabe said to show his concern for the welfare of the war veterans, he had put in place a ministry dedicated to the freedom fighters alone.

He said Government was facing financial challenges, but would do everything it could to ensure that some of the concerns were addressed.

“We will have Minister Tshinga Dube, bringing to us the welfare statistics,” he said.

“Saka izvo matipira sechichemo, asi icho chichemo chakadzama chinosungirwa kuti chiende mucomputer zvatava neministry inoona nezvewelfare yemaex-combatants igare iinazvo.

“Asi kunyangwe tava neruzivo, it doesn’t mean that we will be in a position every time from the point of view of our assistance, that we will be having enough funds.

“Izvo zvoendawo kunaMinister weFinance. Kuti uyu akabata chikwama chedu chenyika, kune mari here? Nemasanctions atanga tiinawo dambudziko ranga rakakura. Asi tirikuona iyezvino kuti zvinhu zvirikuenda zvichinyevenuka maererano nemabatirwo arikuitwa nyika yedu mundima dzemabasa nemacompanies edu.”

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