AN estimated $2,3 billion is required to pay gratuities to war collaborators if the same formula used to pay war veterans in 1987 is applied, a senior government official has said.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Secretary for the War Veterans ministry Retired Brigadier General Walter Asher Tapfumaneyi said assuming each of the 200 000 war collaborators and 47 000 ex-detainees is to be paid $7 500 gratuities each, the amount would definitely shake the economy.
Tapfumaneyi said this on Wednesday while addressing war veterans and war collaborators attending a Centre for Legal Research-sponsored workshop in Kariba on legislation and alignment of war veterans laws with the Constitution.
“Even Parliament will walk out. They want gratuities equivalent to 75% of what was paid to war veterans in 1987 at the value of the US dollar and we arrived at $7 500. But we want to be realistic and ask for things that are manageable,” he said.
“We have noticed the issue of fragmented legislation where we have the War Veterans Act, Political Detainees Act and War Collaborators Act, but we need to come up with one law that covers all three, and two other categories that are excluded in the legislation, which are non-combatant cadres and nationalists who led and conceived the liberation struggle, but were not benefiting as war veterans because they are not in positions of power.”
Tapfumaneyi said proper criteria must be set in order to sift out bogus war collaborators and ex-detainees.
He said there was need to align war veterans laws with the Constitution, adding failure to do that deprived them from enjoying their constitutional rights and access to land and mining rights.
“We want a new title for the Act to be the Liberation War Veterans Act and for it to outline separate responsibilities between the minister and the board. We are a fully fledged ministry and whatever the minister does, he should not answer to the Minister of Finance, but we are answerable to the President,” the warvets secretary said.
Tapfumaneyi chided divisive elements among warvets. He said the law did not discriminate on which warvets should benefit even those who fought during the war, but were no longer Zanu PF members like Jabulani Sibanda.
War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa also told delegates that the War Veterans ministry was now courting Western countries to assist their projects. He said the United States and the European Union had now softened their stance and were working with warvets.
“We are developing our relations with the EU as a ministry and for the first time in 35 years the EU has programmes to support war veterans. They are keen to work with our ministry. We are going to have good relations with all diplomats working in the country,” Mutsvangwa said.