Nine (9) veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation war were arrested on Wednesday and charged with inciting public violence after they allegedly besieged Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube’s office demanding better pensions.
The war veterans, who are members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), were arrested at the New Government Complex in Harare’s central business district.
The ex-combatants are Faith Chananda, Nyasha Mangena, Wonderful Kabarauta, Shorai Nyamangudo, Isso Madzivanyika, Daphne Kanoti, Mazikana Marron, Sthyine Maphosa and Jordan Mberadzina, all above 60 years of age.
They were demanding that government should raise their current monthly pension around $16 000, which they said was not enough to meet their basic needs. One of the veterans who spoke to NewsDay said:
We were not demonstrating. We were actually adhering to COVID-19 regulations while waiting for the minister to bring a response to us.
We were blocked by staff members at the Finance Ministry on several occasions from meeting the minister so that we table our grievance before him.
We were informed that the Finance Ministry had forwarded our grievance to the Public Service and the State Security ministries.
We then demanded to see the copy of the letter which was sent to the ministries and we were told to come today to collect it. That is when we were arrested.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he had not yet received the report of the incident.