Zimbabwe war veterans demand compensation

By Janet Shoko

Posted on February 20, 2013 14:39

Zimbabwe’s 50 000 liberation fighters demanding fresh payouts of $18 000 each from the cash strapped government.

The veterans of the 1970s war were in 1997 given Z$50 000 in gratuities each by President Robert Mugabe’s government after embarking on a series of protests.

The unbudgeted payouts that amounted to $2 000 saw the Zimbabwe dollar losing its value by 70 percent in one day and analysts say the move signaled Zimbabwe’s well documented economic collapse.

Now 15 years later, the ageing veterans argue that the government was meant to have paid them Z$500 000 each in 1997 but up to date they have not received the balance.

Apart from money, they are pressing for diamond mining concessions and parliamentary seats.

They contend that a diamond mining licence would form part of an income generating project for their members.

Presenting their case before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs this week, the leaders said the $18 000 is a balance of what they got in 1997.

Shadreck Makombe, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general said: “This means that government still owes each of us $18 000 in gratuity and as liberation fighters, we feel we have been neglected and long forgotten.”

Basten Beta, chairman of the Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Trust argued that they want 30 percent representation in national economic, political and social spheres.

“In 1980 if there was 21 percent representation of whites in Parliament, why not transfer that 21 percent to 30 percent representation to war veterans now?” he asked the committee.

“There should also be a Ministry of War Veterans and a necessary department to support the cause of war veterans and those should be led by war veterans,” he said.

The war veterans are also demanded a review of their monthly $165 allowances, which they said was insufficient.

In December, Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief General Constantine Chiwenga told war veterans that Mugabe had promised them $2 000 each in monthly payments for nine months for their role in the liberation war.

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