PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe should treat war veterans equally and remunerate them not on the basis of their affiliation to Zanu PF but on what they did to liberate Zimbabwe, a liberation war fighter has said.
In an interview with NewsDay last week in Harare, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association founding member Andrew Ndlovu also said the move by Zanu PF and other forces to make war veterans a national “reserve military force” did not make much sense because the liberation war fighters were now old and deserved to rest.
Ndlovu is the former secretary for projects in the war veterans’ executive led by the late Chenjerai Hunzvi.
“You can’t give a gun to me if there is a war because I am old,” he said. “I call upon all war veterans to shun partisanship when it comes to our welfare. We have to be united as we share the same poverty platform.” He added that in light of the July 31 election results, there was fear Mugabe and Zanu PF would only reward pro-Zanu PF war veterans.
“It should be made clear that war veterans are not advocating benefiting from government as remuneration for campaigning for Zanu PF. It’s not all war veterans who are members of Zanu PF,” said Ndlovu.
He said other than the Z$50 000 gratuities given to war veterans in 1997, there were lots of other pledges agreed to between Mugabe and war veterans that were yet to be fulfilled 16 years later.
“Some of the things agreed to, but not yet implemented, include the issue of the Ministry of War Veterans. We need that ministry with a minister mandated to deal with our issues, a minister who is non-partisan. We need the board of war veterans to be revived and come up with something like the one that had (the late Retired General Solomon) Mujuru, Dumiso Dabengwa, Vitalis Zvinavashe (the late army chief) and others,” Ndlovu said.
“This current group of war veterans has totally failed because it’s too political. It’s an extension of Zanu PF and has run away from duties to do with the welfare of the war vets. In politics, they are in, but on issues to do with war veterans, they are totally out.”