DEPUTY Defence minister Victor Matemadanda on Wednesday pleaded for more funding to be channelled to the war veterans’ as a “Thank You” for their role during the liberation struggle.
BY NIZBERT MOYO/ DUDUZILE NDLUKULWANI
Matemadanda, who is also the secretary-general for the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), called for financial inclusion of ex-combatants in the running of the country’s economic affairs.
He made the comments at a meeting with the Central Bank and other stakeholders held at Zanu PF’s Bulawayo provincial offices, Davies Hall.
The meeting came after the National Business Council of Zimbabwe approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) concerning the plight of the war veterans in the mainstream economy of the country. The meeting was held under the theme, Financial Inclusion for National Production.
“What makes other people think war veterans are withdrawn from main activities of the economy and so forth is that when war veterans left assembly points after the liberation war, they came back to the country with nothing and have been suffering ever since.
“They found themselves with no control of everything. They came back beggars. This is the sad story of war veterans, and that is why we are calling for financial inclusion of ex-combatants in the running of the country’s economic affairs,” Matematanda said.
He revealed that the ZNLWVA has approached the RBZ to avail funding to assist ex-combatants kick-start self-help projects to cut their dependency on government, but central bank deputy governor Kupukile Mlambo quickly shot down the request saying the country was broke.
“The government inherited a number of economic challenges that it has to first fix. We need to deal with what has got us to a position of economic meltdown, and to live without means,” Mlambo, who attended the event, said. “There are no free funds, if any they can be in the form of loans that have to be paid back.”
Ex-combatants have been getting freebies for years. In 1997, angry war veterans pressured former President Robert Mugabe to pay them ZW$50 000 gratuities and other benefits for their role in the liberation struggle.