SOME war veterans were allegedly extorting money from unsuspecting liberation war collaborators claiming that they would facilitate their vetting to enable them to be eligible for government benefits, NewsDay has learnt.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators’ Association (ZLWACO) vice-chairperson Josephine Gandiya accused Joseph Kandembiri of leading a faction that was extorting money ranging from $5 to $25 from war collaborators.
Kandemiri has reportedly formed a parallel organisation, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators’ Association (ZLWACA).
Gandiya also alleged that Kandemiri’s group was moving around the country misrepresenting to war collaborators that they had joined hands with ZLWACO.
Following the development, ZLWACO has, through its lawyers, threatened legal action against Kandemiri.
Gandiya said: “The war veterans are actually working outside the mandate of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association and its leader. What we know is that it is the government that is supposed to vet the war collaborators and these people have not been assigned to do that.”
Gandiya said that the most affected areas were Mashonaland East and Central provinces.
“The team has visited almost all the 10 provinces, but information that we have gathered shows that Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces have the highest number of people who have been fleeced of their hard-earned cash, especially in Murehwa and Mt Darwin,” Gandiya said.
Kandemiri, however, denied the allegations although he confirmed “working with war veterans in a professional manner”.
“They can say what they want, but the truth of the matter is that these people are being vetted by war veterans,” Kandemiri said. “What they are saying is nothing, but total lies. I work with war veterans led by (Jabulani) Sibanda and not individuals.”
War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda said he was unaware of the development.
“I have not heard that there are any war veterans going about vetting people around the country or any vetting process of the war collaborators,” Sibanda said.
“What I know as of now is that there are some misunderstandings among the war collaborators but as of the vetting processes, I am not aware of that.”
War veterans, who in 1997 received a Z$50 000 gratuity each, get a monthly sustenance allowance from government.