ZIPRA veterans want vetting exercise extended, demand to know pickings

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

FORMER freedom fighters and collaborators want government to extend their vetting exercise, arguing some ex-combatants were left out of the recent exercise due to logistical challenges.

They have also demanded to know the amount of money government is promising them.

The request and demand come after government’s nationwide freedom fighter vetting exercise, which ended on April 4.

Speaking at its review meeting in Bulawayo, Wednesday, former Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) fighters and collaborators complained that several of their colleagues were not vetted due to various challenges.

“A lot of our comrades were not vetted in Matobo North. The area is not easily accessible and people failed to reach the vetting centres on time,” said a female veteran who identified herself as Ndlovu.

“The area only had two vetting teams stationed at Silozwi and Baja, the government should consider extending the vetting exercise.”

The last time freedom fighters were rewarded, they received a ZW$50 000 windfall in 1997, then about US$4 800 at the then prevailing official rate of US$1: ZW$10,50.

“Right now we are in the dark on what we are going to get in terms of remuneration,”

“We hope this is not any election campaign gimmick. When our colleagues were given their ZW$50 000 gratuities in 1997, everyone knew in advance what they were getting. Now there is secrecy in the current exercise,” said another, who identified himself Joshua Dube.

They also urged the ministry to include members of all training camps that were previously not included on the vetting list, arguing comrades who were in Kufue, FC and Mboroma in Zambia were not included.

They also want colleagues who were below 16 as of December 31, 1979 to be compensated.

War veterans and collaborators are part of the many who have been ravaged by Zimbabwe’s continued economic collapse.

Despite the 1997 windfall they are however set to get more from Mnangagwa’s administration.