Govt splurges $11m on war vets' children

HARARE - Zimbabwe's cash- strapped government is splashing close to $11 million on school fees for war veterans’ children.

This comes as government is failing to adequately fund the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) initiative, meant to assist orphaned and vulnerable children, those living with disabilities or in foster care under poor parents, street children, or children with chronically ill guardians or in child-headed households with their school fees.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the money paid to war veterans’ children was contributing towards the country’s ballooning budget deficit, which is expected to reach $2,3 billion by the end of 2018.

“This has far reaching consequences in the economy in terms of government crowding out private sector lending. Additionally, continued payment of government obligations through an overdraft will also worsen the liquidity challenges in the economy,” he said in his 2019 pre-budget statement released last week.

According to official government figures, treasury pays over $6,4 million every term in school fees for 22 000 children of war veterans, while Beam that caters for over 200 000 students is not being funded.

University of Zimbabwe political analyst Eldered Masunungure said the move to pay school fees for war veterans’ children was a cheap political game as they are lot of disadvantaged children in the country who lack access to basic education.

“Beam has not been funded for years now but it’s a facility that caters for the underprivileged children and schools are suffering. When a segment of population is being given favourable treatment, then it raises suspicions of political interests,” he said.

Masunungure noted that the Zanu PF led government wants to draw political advantages from such actions, adding that the move is not meant to advance the welfare of war veterans children but is merely politically motivated.

“The war veterans’ children are lucky that they are being privileged but it’s a drop in the ocean in relation to the needs of all the children at a national level, particularly those schools that have been catering for Beam-funded nutrition.

“You cannot segment people with similar needs differently,” he said.

National director of the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children Taylor Nyanhete said government should lobby enough resources for children under Beam.

He, however, said the government also has an obligation to pay for the war veterans children.

“The paying of school fees for war veterans’ children is in the War Veterans Act, so they have to pay,” he said.

Comments (7)

Even in the 2035, if Zanu is in power, it will still be paying for "war vets children's school fees". What a circus Zimbabwe. Surely there must be a cut-off date to stop this crazy thing

s shumba - 30 October 2018

A person that was born in 1980 is 38 and possibly has a child starting university . War vets were born before 1962.....min age is 56.

Bongobongo - 30 October 2018

Seriously....the scam continues with the 'woe vitss'.

jake - 31 October 2018

And you hear some stupid zanu pf goons telling us that lets give ED a chance.A chance to keep on looting and misusing state funds?Who exactly is supposed to tighten their belts?Mnangagwa is actually a worse devil than Mugabe.He tries very hard to hide his true colours to the world and only the naive ones will believe him.Look at all the thieves that Mnangagwa has deployed to their shake shake building.Not even a single thief has been convicted within the zanu pf fat cats who have bee plundering the state resources with reckless abandon.

Luke Bikaz Bikela Bikaldo Munya - 31 October 2018

That War Veterans Act must be reviewed or repealed forthwith. Those lads voluntarily joined the war why should citizenry pay... why has the vets turned into 'soldiers of fortune'.

Sinyo - 31 October 2018

Its not a surprise to hear such comments by the anti war vets group. Some people joined opposition political parties hoping to dislodge ZANU PF from thereby making the war vets suffer. This is out of jealous or because one is a son of former Rhodesian soldiers hoping to revenge through that way. When was second world war fought, but up to today governments throughout the whole world are still paying those war vets including Zimbabwe we are paying them. And we are paying them in forex, but someone is crying foul for his or her own brothers and sisters children whose parents never enjoyed anything in life. Its a very sad chapter in the history of this nation. All because someone belongs to mdc and hates ZANU PF. You cannot imagine a whole so called political analyst from the highest institution of learning pulling himself to such low level of thinking. I wonder what he is doing at that institution? teaching our children poison. He is a political activist not an analyst.

shunguhadziurayi - 31 October 2018

@shunguhadziurayi tikwanire wanzwa. Peasants were exposed to more serious danger on a daily basis and played a bigger and better role in liberating this country, than some who crossed into neighbouring counties and came back armed. Yet these peasants now as seniour citizens are still providing great service to the nation by raising millions of orphaned children in the rural areas without even a single cent from Government. Unlike children of white former commercial farmers, those children of war vets never want to go and help out at their parents' resettled farms during vacation from colleges and universities in order to contribute to the country's GDP and fiscus from which they are privilegely benefiting.

James Gunike - 31 October 2018

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