A ZIMCODD survey has observed that Zimbabweans are unhappy over the government’s plans to pay more compensation to over 160 000 war veterans who were recently vetted.
The Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt and Development (ZICODD) sampled people in Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo to get their views on the compensation for the war veterans.
The number of war veterans in the country has actually increased from the 34 000 who were compensated in 1997 to 160 000 after the vetting of war collaborators and detainees this year. ZIMCODD said in a statement:
The survey noted that although the compensation of the war veterans is a welcome development, the continuous increase in the number of war veterans makes one wonder whether they (fought) their own liberation struggle; which is different from the one that was fought in the 1970s.
Thus, lack of transparency in the selection process remains a cause for concern. According to one key informant from Gweru, the increase in the numbers defies logic as it reflects that more war veterans were born between 1997 and 2022 and glamorise wholesome and populistic policies. To this end, the politics of public resources was regarded as the epicentre of the controversial increase in numbers; pointing to the hegemony in the political economy of the country.
ZIMCODD also said the identification process lacked transparency because it was not publicised.
The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Economic Empowerment Programmes and Vetting Exercise was launched last year in June by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Vetting was conducted at various centres across the country’s 10 provinces.
Economist Brian Sedze said that without increasing productivity and the tax base, the government would be forced to print money to finance the programme.
Sedze warned that pensions, long-term investments, savings, insurance and medical aid will die a bigger death fast. He added:
The economy will self-dollarise and sovereign debt will multiply beyond the US$19 billion curtailing future growth. The little jobs in manufacturing will die; and with erosion of income, people can expect massive job action and an increase in the protest vote.
The economy previously collapsed when the government paid out unbudgeted lump sums of nearly ZW$50 000 (US$4 300 at the time) to war veterans in 1997.