CHILDREN of Zpra/Zapu Veterans (COZZ) has launched a welfare campaign programme to fundraise for struggling war veterans who are unwell, elderly and frail.
BY SILAS NKALA
The association works with the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, Zpra Veterans Trust and Mafela Trust to identify the affected war veterans.
According to the Zpra Veterans Association, over 20 000 ex-Zpra veterans are still not vetted and not benefiting from the government pension scheme and the War Victims Compensation Fund introduced by the late former President Robert Mugabe in the late 1990s
Indications were that out of the 35 000 war veterans registered, most of them were Zanla cadres despite the fact that the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s military men were over 70 000, with only 4 000 of them having been vetted so far.
In a statement on Wednesday, COZZ said they formed the association to mobilise funds for the struggling ex- combatants who operated under Zpra and PF-Zapu.
“Descendants of liberation struggle activists have launched an online campaign programme to raise money for food packs that will be given to struggling veterans who are unwell, elderly and frail. The initiative is championed by the Children of Zpra/Zapu Veterans (COZZ),” the statement read.
The association said this was in recognition of the sacrifices made by those who fought for Zimbabwe’s independence under the auspices of PF-Zapu and Zpra.
They said their action was guided by ubuntu principles to never forsake elders especially in times of need.
“We, their children, and descendants have come together to form an independent and non-political party affiliated global union called Children of Zpra/Zapu Veterans (COZZ), committed to helping veteran-elders in need,” the statement read.
“To that end, COZZ launched its inaugural Christmas food hamper welfare project on November 11. Our food hamper campaign is in partnership with the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation and the Zpra Veterans Trust. It is also endorsed by Mafela Trust.
”The membership of the association is drawn from across the globe with some based in the United Kingdom, South Africa, United States of America to name a few,” the grouping said.
“Over the years, media reports have illustrated the dire and desperate situation of former veterans. Most have struggled with the basics of healthcare, nutrition and some have mental health needs,” their statement read.
“COZZ will prioritise supporting these veterans of the struggle as a token of appreciation for the sacrifices they made for our freedom. This appreciation will be conveyed by us, their children while they are still alive.”