Sunday, March 12, 2017

Zimbabwe President, War Veterans Meeting on Cards
Grace Kaerasora

WAR veterans will soon meet their Patron, President Mugabe, to review the historic engagement with the Head of State and Government last year where issues affecting freedom fighters and Zanu-PF were tabled.

The Sunday Mail understands that War Veterans, war collaborators, Detainees and Restrictees Minister Colonel (Retired) Tshinga Dube is arranging the meeting.

The engagement comes amid failed attempts by a group led by former minister and expelled Zanu-PF member Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa to mobilise a section of war veterans to wade into the succession issue.

President Mugabe has said he will not handpick his successor as Zanu-PF’s constitution provides for that matter and that the people of Zimbabwe will determine who they want to lead them.

The war veterans want to use their next engagement with President Mugabe to review progress in sorting out welfare issues raised at the 2016 indaba.

At that meeting, President Mugabe promised to meet the war veterans regularly and emphasised that their welfare were a priority.

He told them: “This is your gathering, veterans of the liberation struggle. We need to meet regularly, like around this time next (this) year. We need to meet regularly so that we see how comrades are and how best to help those who are not well.”

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Rtd Col Dube said: “The usual indaba that we arrange with the President comes in April, but we do not have an exact date yet. But the President promised that he would meet war veterans every once a year.

“We have issues that affect war veterans from all parts of the country, all over. We even have some provincial ministers who seem to have some attitude against war veterans, instead of helping them . . . “When the war veterans’ organisation was formed, the President gave a directive that 20 percent of the land must be given to war veterans and quite a number of war veterans got land.

“Now more people want land and they cannot find it. They are beginning to stretch their hands to the land which was given to the war veterans, but the President is not happy at all with this issue of getting land which has been offered to war veterans.”

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the issue of war veterans being dispossessed of land had not been formally brought to his office.

“At the moment I cannot really comment because I haven’t received anything. We don’t have the list of affected people. The people are not coming to us

“War veterans, in our data base, are not captured as war veterans, but as Zimbabweans and it is not just the war veterans being affected, but even ordinary citizens. The trend has been that the war veterans report the problems to their ministry and are not coming to us.”

Freedom fighters are also concerned by delays in release funds for school fees for their children, and they want an upward review of their US$260 pension payouts, among other issues.

No comments: