WAR veterans have bemoaned what they suspect is the fraudulent diversion of their children’s education funds for the 2013 and 2014 third terms, which they said they did not receive from government, prompting them to approach illegal money lenders.
A war veteran Godfrey Mlalazi said last year, they did not receive their children’s fees allocation for this year’s third term and they suspected that maybe it was due to last year’s elections.
“The government paid for the first and second terms, but there was no payment for the third term,” Mlalazi said.
“This has happened again this year. The fees were paid for the first and second term, but for the third term, we did not receive any thing.
“Our children have been chased away from school during third terms and we suspected that this has become a habit that the money is not paid.
“Now we suspect that someone is diverting our money.”
Mlalazi said as he spoke, he had approached some money lenders so he could pay his children’s fees after they were repeatedly chased from school.
“We are now failing to pay the loans as interest continues to accrue,” he said.
“We borrowed the money hoping to get allocation from government, but to date, last year’s third term fees have not been paid and we have already borrowed more money for this year’s third term.
“Usually we pay school fees first and the government reimburses us.”
As part of the war veterans’ pensions, their children’s fees are paid for by the government. However, due to bureaucracy, the fees are sometimes delayed.
“We do not know who might be responsible for this anomaly,” Mlalazi said.
“The government and the department responsible for the money must explain to us what is happening because we have faced serious challenges due to non-payment of our children’s fees.”
Contacted for comment, the new Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday said the welfares of the war veterans were being handled by the welfare director in the Defence ministry, until the reshuffle which took place in November.
“Now this is my ministerial brief,” Mutsvangwa said. “I will vigorously pursue those matters with the Minister of Finance (Patrick Chinamasa) and other stakeholders. The welfare of war veterans and their families lies at the heart of my job.”
Last year in October, war veterans in Harare demonstrated against senior ZNLWVA officials, accusing them of misappropriating about $6 million meant for their children’ school fees.
This was after the school fees payment for their children was delayed.