War vets demand $13,5bn

HARARE - As part of the resolutions passed at the just-ended Zanu PF conference in Esigodini last week, it was agreed that members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) be rewarded in cash or kind for the instrumental role they played in ending colonial rule.

It was therefore resolved that those who are still to benefit from the haphazard land reforms of the early 2000s be given access to land, among other featherbeddings.

“All war veterans who have not yet benefited from land allocation should be given land. The war veterans should be given their land quota promised by government as this phenomenon has not been followed. The liberation war fighters want to be exempted from land tax on the land they liberated,” the party stated in its resolutions.

“There is need to improve the general welfare of war veterans and honour the monetary pledge that government made to them, like in the case of all liberation armies in the region and beyond. The vetting process of war veterans who have been excluded should be expected, expedited and completed.”

As if that is not enough, the former liberation war fighters took to the streets of Harare yesterday, demanding that Mnangagwa’s administration look into their welfare.

In a petition addressed to the presidency, the ex-combatants are pushing for monthly pensions of $2 000 each, clearance of arrears and implementation of all the other benefits provided for in Statutory Instrument 280 and 281 of 1997 such as the medical, funeral, and settlement benefits.

They are also pressing for the settlement of “the outstanding” $450 000 once-off gratuity to both the living and beneficiaries of the estates of all war veterans who passed on, which could gobble up $13,5 billion for the 30 000 war veterans on government’s books.

Analysts canvassed by the Daily News this week said while the legacy of the liberation struggle is respected without question, along with the sacrifices of genuine war veterans, some elements within ZNLWVA have become parasitic, with a sense of entitlement that could lead the country to ruin if Zanu PF dances to their every whim.

“If Mnangagwa is not careful about these current demands, it could worsen an already bad economic situation. It will backfire because it will ruin the economy and war veterans have no real political power to talk of. Power lies with the military,” said political analyst Dewa Mavhinga.

Piers Pigou, a senior consultant at the International Crisis Group said while Mnangagwa could be trying to appease the former liberation war veterans by showering them with monetary and nonmonetary rewards, his generosity could impact negatively on the country’s dying economy.

“Promises on the land issue reflect the continued mind-set in Zanu PF that they, rather than the State, are the primary custodians and decision-makers on the land. How this relates to reform promises on tenure etc. remains to be seen?” opined Piers Pigou.

ZNLWVA has been an integral part of the ruling party even though the supreme law of the land expects them to be nonpartisan.

The ex-combatants have been instrumental in waging a brutal campaign against the opposition until around 2015/16 when they fell out with former president Robert Mugabe for campaigning for Mnangagwa, who was vice president at the time, to succeed the 94-year-old despot.

While it was the Zimbabwe Defence Forces which masterminded Mugabe’s fall through a soft coup in November last year, it was the war veterans — through ZNLWVA — who did the groundwork under the leadership of the now under-fire Chris Mutsvangwa.

Now that Mnangagwa is firmly in charge, the war veterans are now demanding their pound of flesh for the role they played in ushering him to power.

Recently, Defence and War Veterans deputy minister Victor Matemadanda told members of the Senate that war veterans, war collaborators and detainees must have a say in the economy.

He disclosed that they have been engaging officials from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who made an undertaking to sponsor projects and programmes for war veterans. 

“Our request is that if the money is allocated to the war veterans and when the war veterans receive it, they should be capacitated to start businesses,” he said.

In 1997, government, under unrelenting pressure from marauding war veterans led by the late Chenjerai “Hitler” Hunzvi, was forced to award gratuities of Z$50 000 (then about $4 000) to each of the surviving 50 000 war veterans as well as monthly pensions of Z$2 000 in addition to extending education and health benefits to them and their family members.

The unbudgeted hefty payouts had grave consequences on the economy, with the country’s currency losing 72 percent of its value in a single day, on November 14, a day that is remembered in the country’s economic history as the Black Friday.

The economy never recovered from this severe knock.

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

Currently, the war veterans are getting $200 monthly pensions and on top of that, the government is paying school fees for their children, medical allowances and funeral assistance when they die.

THE country’s former liberation war fighters have put President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in a tight spot by demanding monetary and nonmonetary rewards at a time his administration could ill-afford such benefits.

 

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Comments (11)

Stupidity knows no bounds. These fools vakajaidzwa stereki. They need kumbotsemurwa mbama chaiyo so they can snap out of their dreams

Moe Syszlack - 20 December 2018

Its not time for payout huge fund to unproductive but to control our inflation and promote production so war vet give space to the new government and time to see their promises.

Voice - 20 December 2018

These so called war veterans are dreaming. They refused to go back to school after the war and now they want our tax money to fund their lifestyle.

Chimbodza Dziwe - 20 December 2018

Its about time for some hard facts; colonisation was exaggerated to justify the armed struggle. The liberation struggle is also an exaggerated to give certain members of the society sole entitlement of it and only custodians of anything Zimbabwean. Only a few weeks back in Kadoma, Chiefs also demanded personal comforts and got a pledge from ED that their grievances would be cushioned by the 310 million fund earmarked for devolution. If zanupf led government continues on this trajectory of pampering a segiment of society (warvets, chiefs, ministers) at the expense of the well being of the economy for the benefit of all citizenry Zimbabwe will continue to be a shit-hole state shunned by millions of its citizens

Sinyo - 20 December 2018

Zanu pf has this stupid myth that the so called war veterans are the reason why zanu pf has survived.It is not true.Zanu pf has survived because it uses the army,police and the cio to instill fear in the electorate and they also protect their merchants of death especially the youths whenever they face stiff retaliation from opposition members.When opposition party members are beaten up and killed the security forces turn a blind eye and they only see evil when the opposition members retaliate.Who can be beaten by those poorly trained and old so called war vets if it were not for the armed forces who protects these ageing goons?Ini ndotoda vari ten ini ndiri one as long as pasina mapurisa anopindira ndovatsemura big time.Very soon they will be extinct.Zanu pf goons vanotemba kuti mutemo unoshanda kune ve opposition party bedzi kwavari haushandi,but pazvichapera izvi some people will wish they were not born.

Janana wa Bikaz Bikela Bikaldo - 20 December 2018

I think that demand is not reasonable. Our Government has been inundated with unreasonable demands. I think the best is just to ignore and do what is good for the nation not things that only benefit a few individuals.

John Sigauke - 20 December 2018

No sane government will accede to such retrogressive ill timed kindergarten demands.They will put the final nail in the comatose economy and besides if you give them such huge lumpsums they will buy cabbages for cows,past experience has taught us that.Matemadanda is getting too big for his shoes and he must be cut down to size.

Wilberforce Tutsirai - 20 December 2018

Some of these 'woe vates' are 43 yrs old. This lot are a bunch of lunatics who have outlived their useful shelf life. Enough now.

jake - 21 December 2018

Destroying the country you liberated! If these veterans are serious, WHY are they NOT involved in nation building activities like facilitating ED and V11 talks, fighting cholera, controlling fuel lines or any simple matter. Then, we might believe them.

Nyandoro - 21 December 2018

Its really sad that demands are made fine or rewards way beyond the event...its unimaginable ...in fact its depressing to even imagine that we are now receiving the "invoice and bills" for the liberators - from whence do we get this mercenary behaviour ?? Alas should we say we were duped and misled .....should we assume & conclude that it was not patriotism but greed, graft and avarice that was the motivator ?????

ZimPatriot - 21 December 2018

These war vets are destroying this economy. Where they fighting alone to liberate this country. No no gentlemen it is high time to shut up the mouth of these so called war vets. Majority of real war vets died without anything but seeing these liars trying to ruin this country will not work. This country is not a war vets property. ED must not listen to these liars, he must turn down their requests.

Amalinze - 22 December 2018

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