War Vets Make Fresh Demands For Pension Increases

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By Thandiwe Garusa

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZLWVA) Harare province Monday petitioned Parliament demanding equal monthly pensions awarded to other serving ex-combatants still employed in various government departments.

Most of the disgruntled ex-combatants said they were discharged from the government’s uniformed forces, and are receiving less monthly pensions than their counterparts still in service.

In the petition, the former fighters of the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence demanded that Statutory Instrument (SI) 257 of 2020 gazetted last year, be amended and accommodate their latest demands

“We, as war veterans of Harare province feel honoured to be invited to come to this August House to give detailed information on why we petitioned and feel that SI 257 of 2020 special provisions for active ex-combatants in the uniformed forces fixed date must be amended to 17 April 1995,” the petition reads.

“After having researched, consulted, and discussed at length with fellow ex-combatants the date 17 April 1995 will encompass all war veterans affected.

“Leaving the fixed date as 1 December 2017 will discriminate the ex-combatants for they played the same role of fighting for the liberation of this country, served the nation in the uniformed forces, and later brought about the new dispensation we are all seeing today, the fruits of the struggle now appear to be enjoyed by just a few”.

The new dispensation was ushered in November 2017 when Zanu PF officials backed by the army led a coup that toppled now late former President Robert Mugabe from office.

He was replaced by his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“Most ex-combatants retired within the periods 17 April 1995 up to 30 November 2017 and only a lesser number remains still serving as from 1 December 2017 to date, so if the fixed date is not amended it will benefit only a few ex-combatants at the expense of the majority,” added the petition.

The ex-combatants also claim they have nothing tangible to show for their sacrifice fighting against white minority rule.

“Today, some ex-combatants do not have a roof over their heads or own a (housing) stand either and if the fixed date is amended the result will be a rise (in monthly pensions) and improvement in the welfare status of the ex-combatants and maybe possibly the owning of a house or (residential) stand,” reads the petition.

The former freedom fighters have been making demands for various perks. In 1997, they received $50 000 each as gratuity for their role in the liberation struggle and a majority of them have been beneficiaries of the land reform programme.

Their children also receive free education and last year the former freedom fighters demanded diplomatic passports, and access to overseas treatment as local health institutions were now dilapidated with no medical equipment and qualified personnel.