By Robert Tapfumaneyi
COMBATIVE former fighters in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle have demanded the government should award them university degrees for staging a revolution that brought independence to Zimbabwe in 1980.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya also said that the government must consider giving tax exemption to companies that take care of the liberation fighters’ welfare.
Addressing Mashonaland East war veterans and Zanu PF supporters in Marondera over the weekend, Mahiya said as liberation fighters, they were happy to be given an opportunity by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to influence education on Zimbabwe’s liberation to the younger generation.
“We succeed in educating people about the revolution and that land belongs to them and we succeeded and we got independence,” Mahiya said.
“We were told if you face resistance from the Smith regime soldiers, here is the gun, fight them and we succeeded. The third one was to utilise land, we succeeded, and this is where we are today.
“My thinking now is the government must award us degrees because we went to war and learnt principles of the revolution and we made it.”
Mahiya added; “War veterans do not associate themselves with failure politically, we associate ourselves with success and progress.”
Turning to members’ welfare, Mahiya said the issue of looking after the welfare of the war veterans, in other countries, the private sector was now in charge of the needs of the ex-combatants.
“So, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube must come up with a policy that says if a company capacitates a farm of a war veteran with farming equipment and inputs, it will be exempted from paying tax,” the war veterans’ spokesperson said.
“If a company pays for war veterans’ medical bills, it will have a tax rebate. We don’t lose anything as a nation but we would have complied with our Constitution which says we will honour and respect our war veterans.
“Respect can only be a benefit when such things are happening, just like someone buying me (Mahiya) a car and your company gets a rebate.”