THE war veterans’ board gazetted by the government to cater for the welfare of the former combatants including the incorporation of the ex-freedom fighters into the national army suffered a stillbirth after President Robert Mugabe ignored the board’s proposals.
This was said by Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa who was the deputy chair in the board which was led by the late Solomon Mujuru.
In 2007, as the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) patron, Mugabe appointed Dabengwa, the late Josiah Tungamirai and Mujuru to lead the board.
According to Dabengwa, the board only held three meetings before it died a natural death.
“Our board was properly gazetted through an Act of parliament but we never took off. Following our appointment, we had two or three meetings and presented our proposals to Mugabe. We never received any response from the patron and some of my colleagues have died. We really do not know what happened to the board but it was gazetted by an act of parliament,” said Dabengwa in an interview with New Zimbabwe.com.
The former ZIPRA intelligence supremo said according to their proposals all war veterans were supposed to operate under the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).
“We had suggested that we should have war veterans provincial commanders in every province under ZDF,” he said.
Under the board’s proposal, war veterans were also supposed to be allocated ranks similar to those of serving soldiers with similar benefits and remuneration.
The war veterans were also going to be a reserve force of the army had the board’s proposal been accepted by Mugabe.
Addressing the local media recently, ZNLWVA spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, said his organisation was eager to operate under ZDF instead of the Ministry of War Veterans.
“Before the ministry, we were under the army and during that time, our welfare was better compared to now. They should just disband it and revert to placing war veterans under the army,” said Mahiya.