Zimbabwe: War veterans warn finance Minister

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Militant veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation have laid sedge on Finance minister Tendai Biti demanding more money from a bankrupt government.

The veterans, who are in their late 60s, have also launched a campaign called ‘Heal our wounds’. They want compensation from Britain for ‘the atrocities caused by the Ian Smith regime’.

Leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association are expected to have a face to face meeting with Biti on Friday to air their grievances over the alleged non-payment of their benefits by Government.

In a letter addressed to Biti, the war veterans said they are wallowing in poverty because they had not received any payouts since last year. They said they had made numerous efforts to clarify the issue with the Ministry of Defence’s Department of War Veterans Affairs.

“The agenda of the meeting is to seek an explanation as to why war veterans are not receiving their money for school fees, medical fees and funeral funds since 2009.

“It is disappointing to note that despite numerous efforts to get these monies, nothing fruitful has come out.

“The ministry that is responsible for administering these funds has openly and clearly pointed out that they have not received any allocations from the Ministry of Finance, the ministry you head,” part of the letter reads.

War veterans also want their monthly pensions increased from US$50 to US$600.

Currently war veterans are on a government pension scheme in which they are receiving at least US$60 per month as part of the government’s appreciation to the role the “comrades” played during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

The war veterans say they are angered by the fact that while they are failing to access their money, Minister Biti had made allocations to the ministries of Housing and Social Amenities and Information Communication Technology.

“It is further disheartening to note that your ministry recently allocated US$15 million to the Ministry of Housing and Social Amenities and US$6 million to ICT.

‘What baffles us as war veterans is that the ministry responsible for the welfare of war veterans and their dependents was not given any allocation,” they said.

War veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, said they had been taken for granted for too long.

“War veterans are suffering and they are being taken for granted by these people. So we are saying we should act now before we die of hunger. What is housing and ITC when the comrades are hungry?” he asked.

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