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We are forever indebted to war veterans, but …


editorial comment

FOR all the troubles Zimbabwe is currently experiencing, it is quite difficult if not disheartening that we have a section of our misery-weary society who are busy haggling over being compensated for liberating the country from the racist rule of Ian Smith.

As much as we deeply appreciate the role played by our veterans of the 1970s guerrilla war, we wonder whether their demands will ever help develop this nation or help solve its debilitating socio-economic problems. As the public hearings of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill proceed countrywide we are hearing some really outlandish demands by people we thought selflessly fought for our liberation with all their hearts.

We hear that they now don’t want to be associated with the very people who ensured they survived the struggle, the liberation war collaborators, who supplied invaluable information on the enemy, fed the guerrilla fighters, carried their heavy ammunition and were with them in the thick of things at the battle front.

We also hear that they, war veterans, want to be exempted from paying tollgate fees. They also want more farms, which ironically they grabbed in 2000, for show off.

They also want 20% of jobs at all institutions to be reserved for them. They also want their children to get preferential treatment in the job market in a country that is hardly creating jobs. The list of their demands appears endless.

Those who were not yet born during that protracted war would be forgiven for failing to make head and tail of the ruckus coming from the liberation war camp.

It has been 40 years since Zimbabwe became independent and in 20 years’ time a tiny fraction of these fighters will still be around, so it really bamboozles why an entire nation should be so engrossed with this issue at a time when it cannot even grow enough to feed itself.

Those among us, who were old enough to understand what was going on back then are really perplexed at the zeal the war veterans have to be compensated when, back then, everyone was made to understand that one’s involvement in the liberation struggle was a selfless venture.

Given that the simple English dictionary’s definition of selflessness is: “Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own,” it is quite bewildering why the liberation war veterans appear so determined to be paid at all costs for their role in the liberation struggle.

They appear determined to hold this country to ransom for their role which we all thought was self-sacrifice. Everyone, indeed, sacrificed, including the ordinary villagers who gave up their livestock, food and money to sustain the struggle. Should they too be compensated for that?

For time immemorial we have seen the liberation war fighters compensated at every opportune time and it is increasingly exposing them as being selfish individuals who took up arms for egocentric reasons.

Honestly, we cannot forever compensate and cuddle the liberation war fighters. The last time we did so the country bled to near death and it appears they couldn’t care less. Now despite the country being virtually on its knees, they want to be pampered again.

It boggles the mind why these Christopher Mutsvangwa-led war veterans are holding us to ransom.

With this President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration seemingly complicit, may all the gods out there, please, help Zimbabwe.

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