WAR veterans in Bulawayo have appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately appoint a hands-on minister to address their challenges, among them, outstanding pension benefits.
The call came after Mnangagwa last week fired Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs minister Christopher Mutsvangwa for alleged misconduct, triggering wild celebrations by the former liberation war fighters.
Outspoken Zipra war veteran Max Mkandla appealed to Mnangagwa to appoint a new minister who will urgently look into their welfare.
“This ministry must be given to someone who will be able to address the outstanding vetting process issues, particularly the newly vetted war veterans as the years have gone by without them receiving their pensions,” Mkandla said.
“We have clusters of war veterans such as the war vets trained locally and those who missed the vetting in 1996-97. We have ex-detainees, and refugees who crossed the border and were at camps such as Dukwe in Francistown and Phikwe camps in Botswana and those who were in training camps in Zambia who came back untrained after the ceasefire. All these are war veterans.”
He added that the government and the new minister must be clear on the war vets’ issues and urgently deal with outstanding payments.
“Mutsvangwa did nothing to address these issues other than concentrating on his deals with the Chinese. Mutsvangwa must stop lecturing us that he played a bigger role in the liberation struggle, investors engagement and even the 2017 coup. He must stop pretending to be the only war vet in Zanla but we have Zipra that fought well against the colonial system,” he said.
Last week, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association members celebrated the sacking of Mutsvangwa by Mnangagwa from his cabinet position describing him as a non-performer.
“We as war veterans are relieved, he is a non-performer, we had high expectations as we had so many issues that we wanted the government to address. Instead of him engaging us, he was disengaging us, he was dividing us,” Mathibela said.
Source Southern eye