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Heroes conferment criteria challenged

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A MOTION to challenge the criteria used by the Zanu PF government to confer hero status as well as raise issues over failure by the ruling party to support dependants of heroes is set to be moved in Parliament soon, it has emerged.

SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

The criteria used to select National heroes has been challenged
The criteria used to select National heroes has been challenged

Opposition MP Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga (MDC N) last week gave notice in the National Assembly that when the House resumes sitting on August 26, she will introduce the motion to allow MPs to discuss the issue.

The motion, which will be seconded by another MDC legislator Jasmine Toffa, is likely to attract heated debate in the House.

“We are concerned that the current War Veterans Act defines a war veteran as one who underwent military training and participated consistently and persistently in the liberation struggle, between January 1 1962 and February 29 1980,” reads the motion.

It says the MPs were further concerned that in practice hero status was recommended by the Zanu PF politburo, and that President Robert Mugabe is designated in the National Heroes’ Act with the conferment of hero status.

“We are cognisant that the National Heroes’ Act sets largely restrictive criteria of a hero, as one who has well deserved on account of his outstanding, distinctive and distinguished service to Zimbabwe and saddened that though the National Heroes’ Act has a provision for the heroes’ dependants’ welfare, however, many of them remain unassisted,” the motion further reads.

In 2012 director of War Veterans’ Affairs in the Defence ministry Retired Major General Richard Ruwodo disclosed that many families of national heroes did not get any compensation.

He said the family of Josiah Magama Tongogara and others like him who died before 1997 were not entitled to get anything from the war veterans’ funds because they were not physically present to prove they fought for the liberation of the country.

He said the War Veterans Act automatically disqualified anybody that did not physically present themselves for vetting in 1997 from benefitting.

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