In a move reminiscent of the Chenjerai Hunzvi-led demonstrations in 1997, war veterans picketed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices today with a long list of demands.
The veterans of the 1970s bush war that brought Uhuru for the country said that unlike former President Robert Mugabe who gave them $50 000 gratuities, the current President has done nothing for them.
War veterans insisted that they are not greedy or selfish for presenting their demands but that they expected their contribution to be valued.
The group of War Veterans are said not to be aligned to ZANU PF and they did not manage to get Mnangagwa’s ear. The war veterans were led by one Amos Sigauke. While addressing the press, Sigauke said
Statutory instrument 280 and 281 is very clear, it speaks about our pension and benefits, that is the minimum we want. If there are projects, we also want them on top of our benefits. We cannot talk about new things when past resolutions have not been met. There are benefits that we were given in 2007 that have not yet been honoured.
The Zanu PF war veterans leadership is labelling us as relegates, we gave all of the documents that show what we want. Chris Mutsvangwa, Vincent Mahiya and Victor Matemadanda all have the documents but they were given benefits and cars and because of that, they cannot sing the same song that we are singing.
And if we demand what is rightfully ours, we are labelled as relegates, I went to war at the age of 14. They are saying we are anti-Mnangagwa, they are singing for their supper, we understand but it is not fair.
ZBC refused to cover us, Mavhura, the ZBC Chief Executive Officer said we are not recognised by the nation, which nation is he talking about.
We understand the obstacles we are facing but we are not going to back down, the war started with a few people, the seven who died at Chinhoi but many people joined. I am prepared to demonstrate alone or even if we are two I do not mind, it is not about numbers but it is about the legitimacy of our cause. We will organise another demo if our demands are not met.
If you go down in the rural areas, you will be shocked by the state of some of our fellow comrades, they are now beggars. We want the government to recognise those neglected comrades.
In other countries war veterans are treated with respect, for example in Mozambique the post of the state governor in every state is reserved for war veterans but here we have a lot of opportunists who jumped on the train after independence and took over and they pretend to be war veterans.