Saturday, April 15, 2017

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Zimbabwe War Veterans Should Be Loyal, Disciplined
April 14, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
Tshinga Dube
Zimbabwe Chronicle

ONE of the enduring legacies of the liberation struggle is that it gave us war veterans — gallant men and women who sacrificed a lot for the self-determination and independence of this country. The selflessness and dedication they displayed in choosing to fight the white settler regime, sometimes at great cost to them and their families, deserves praise and we will be forever indebted to the multitudes who paid the ultimate price so that we enjoy the peace and tranquility currently prevailing in Zimbabwe.

Since independence, Government has acknowledged the important role played by former members of Zipra and Zanla in emancipating this country from the clutches of colonialism and gave them priority in recruitment in security organs such as the Zimbabwe National Army, the police and other security establishments.

War veterans were also granted lump sum gratuities of Z$50 000 (then a princely sum) in 1997 and this was meant to assist them to improve their lives.

While some of them invested the money wisely and set up businesses, some blew the gratuity and are wallowing in poverty. To this day, Government continues to prioritise the welfare of war veterans with a dedicated Ministry led by one of their own — Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube — being created to cater to their needs.

Clearly, Government has bent over backwards to accommodate the many demands of ex-combatants some of whom feel this country owes them a great deal of gratitude for their crucial role in liberating it. This is understandable but there seems to be a culture of entitlement among some of the country’s liberators — with a clique now feeling they have the power and wherewithal to make the Government dance to their tune. This idea that they can hold President Mugabe and his Government to ransom is not only dangerous but ill-conceived and we exhort them to change their ways.

Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa and his motley crew of renegade war veterans should be reminded that politics leads the gun and just like during the liberation struggle, they should submit to the orders of their leaders. Time and again they have pledged loyalty to President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF party but their actions on the ground negate their rhetoric.

We encourage them to desist from disparaging a party and leader they pledge allegiance to in various public fora and be the disciplined and loyal cadres they once were. Their Commander-in-Chief President Mugabe reminded them as much when he spoke during the burial of the late national hero, Brigadier General James Jotham Murozvi, at the National Heroes’ Acre on Wednesday.

The President urged some war veterans to dump ill-conceived thoughts of entitlement to lead based on their status as former liberation war fighters saying they should be satisfied with positions they were getting in the                                                                                                   ruling party. He said the Zanu-PF principle that “politics leads the gun” should be respected.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces lauded Brig Gen Murozvi for being a principled, dedicated cadre who never wavered on principle. “He didn’t complain, saying Government is making a mistake,” he said.

“He was quiet. He was different and was not like some who say since I am a war veteran, I have got the right to challenge and demand that things should be done this way. He knew the procedure.

“We are war veterans, yes. We came back after fighting for Zimbabwe. We have got a party that leads us, not a party that we are forced to lead. In this party we believe that we have got a job to do, if we are to be given positions, we should accept the positions. We should agree that politics leads the gun. So he was a very loyal cadre.

“That is what is required of us. We must have love for each other, and know that we are not different from the majority of the people and be together in whatever we do. We defeated the Boers and so today we have to solve our problems as a nation. You may be a war veteran, a detainee, a collaborator, you might be an ordinary person, or chief, the party is ours together.

“We are not different, we should all be equal in Zanu-PF. Discipline, Discipline, Discipline”. Indeed we agree with the President that war veterans should be disciplined and discard their sense of entitlement which has sadly seen them at loggerheads with their leader. It is never too late for them to see the error of their ways and repent. We are sure Zanu-PF and the President would never shut the door on its sons and daughters as long as they show contrition and rededicate themselves to the values, ethos and founding principles of the party which they faithfully served for so many years.

No comments: