PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to increase pensions paid to war veterans as well as the timely release of school fees for their children while at the same time requesting their support in the forthcoming elections.
Addressing his inaugural meeting with veterans of the armed struggle, Mnangagwa who is now their patron after former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster, said his administration was working on increasing monthly allowances for the ex-freedom fighters as well as increase their access to health care.
He said various issues were raised in a meeting between war veterans and his predecessor in 2016, but the bulk of the issues remained unattended to.
“Let me assure you that my government is committed to fulfil these obligations and ensuring that you enjoy a life of dignity with appropriate provision befitting status as our great heroes,” Mnangagwa said.
“My government has already made a decision to increase the allowances and pensions for veterans and put in place the requisite safety nets to cushion you with regard your daily needs such as health care, timely disbursement of school fees to your children among other requirements,” he said to the applause of about 6 000 delegates drawn from across the country.
The Zanu PF leader then turned to the ex-freedom fighters for support in the coming elections, urging them to sell the party manifesto to villages and communities.
“Let us go forth in our campaign with women, youth and the affiliates, let us go out to business, small and medium enterprises, students, farmers and miners and campaign for Zanu PF. Let us not forget the media fraternity, cross boarder traders among others to campaign for Zanu PF,” he said
In the past elections, Zanu PF has relied on war veterans for support. But between 2015 and 2017, the war veterans had declared that they would not campaign for any party as they felt they were being abused by the leadership under Mugabe.
After the 2017 leadership change, the war veterans have rekindled their romance with Zanu PF as some of its leaders who had been kicked out of government now occupy key positions and were at the forefront supporting Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa went on to thank the war veterans for the support they have given him and endorsing him again as the 2018 elections to be held in July.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the support that I have received from you to date,” he said.
Mnangagwa encouraged the war veterans to be the party ambassadors as the elections were coming saying it was their duty to carry the party forward and stay loyal to it.
“In a few weeks we will be holding our general elections, our party is ours to carry and we have a huge responsibility to which we are obligated by our party constitution to be loyal to the party,” Mnangagwa said.