No cash to placate restive war vets

HARARE - Government is so stone-broke that it cannot afford to avail funds to placate restive war veterans amid faltering efforts to woo them back to Zanu PF, War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has revealed.

The retired colonel’s confirmation of a cash flow crisis follows reports that President Robert Mugabe has dangled a carrot to former freedom fighters to attend the December 13-18 Zanu PF conference in Masvingo following indications that disgruntled members of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) will boycott the event.

ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said many war veterans would not be attending the annual conclave, citing bribery and misrepresentations of their grievances by the War Veterans ministry.

Dube told the Daily News this week that his ministry was operating on a shoestring budget and were struggling to fund the war vets’ day-to-day activities.

“We don’t have money, we are still far behind in terms of paying school fees for war veterans’ children,” Dube said.

“We are struggling to pay fees.”

He also dismissed claims that the ministry was bribing some war vets to attend the Masvingo assembly.

“ . . . where do you think we can get money to bribe war veterans so that they can attend the conference?

“I am going to meet them (war veterans) so that I can hear what they are trying to say. Our job is to unite all war veterans.”

Dube revealed that it had taken his ministry a lot of lobbying to convince Mugabe to approve the purchase of 13 Ford Ranger vehicles for the ex-combatants’ parent ministry.

Mahiya had earlier in the week described this year’s Zanu PF conference as a celebration of war veterans’ ouster from the ruling party by the G40 faction.

“The ministry has gone as far as picking up war veterans who they are giving money to attend the conference so that the president will think that the war veterans are there.

“We were not invited to the conference because at the helm of the party we have a G40 cabal. So, obviously, they don’t want to see us attending their function. There is bad blood between us and the G40.

“They will be celebrating victory to have a conference without war veterans, which is contrary to what we always say. Zimbabwe was born out of the liberation struggle, and the war was fought by war veterans who are surprisingly not invited. They want to remove all veterans from the party.”

This comes as the nonagenarian and his brawling ruling party have been working hard to heal the widening rift between them, and the former freedom fighters who ended their 41-year relationship with the Zanu PF leader after releasing a damning communiqué on him in July.

Since then, Mugabe and Zanu PF have been dangling gifts to the war vets, including cash, land and vehicles in a bid to strengthen the ruling party ahead of the crucial forthcoming polls — after their initial thuggish methods failed to coerce the disgruntled ex-combatants into line.

In 2013, the leaders of the war veterans insisted that their members were still owed $18 000 each, arguing that the Z$50 000 they were paid in 1997 was only a down payment of the Z$500 000 government had agreed to pay them.

Comments (1)

I strongly believe that the current society does not need the philosophy of war vets, they are just outcasts without any wisdom, very childishly imbeciles, confused lunatics who fought a senseless war.

The Observer - 10 December 2016

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