War vets make fresh demands

via War vets make fresh demands | The Zimbabwe Independent  by Elias Mambo

In what seems to be payback time for President-elect Robert Mugabe’s landslide victory in the just-ended watershed elections, war veterans will push government to look into their concerns.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, the tough-talking and combative war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda said his Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) will now take its demands to its patron, Mugabe, once he sets up a new cabinet.

“We are waiting for the new government to be put in place, then our concerns can be addressed. We are sure the new Zanu PF government will be able to prioritise our concerns,” said Sibanda who stands accused of terrorising the electorate, especially in Masvingo, way before the polls.

Sibanda, who has been on a trailblazing campaign across the country’s 10 provinces to mobilise war veterans and local chiefs to prepare and campaign for a Zanu PF victory, said since his association had delivered victory to Mugabe and Zanu PF, the next government should now aim at improving living conditions for the war veterans.

Sources say Mugabe, desperate to extend his 33-year rule, had given the firebrand war veterans leader the nod to mobilise support in the provinces as the country prepared for the make-or-break elections in which Mugabe garnered 61% and his Zanu PF party a more than two-thirds majority in parliament.

“We have been on the ground for the past four years in what we termed Operation Kubudirana Pachena, where we have been meeting all church pastors, traditional chiefs and the majority of Zimbabweans, alerting them on the importance of the just-ended elections,” Sibanda said.

“While the MDCs lied that we are a violent organisation, Zimbabweans proved them wrong by voting for Zanu PF. We are happy that we have delivered victory to Zanu PF and this is victory of good over evil.”

The war veterans, who have often been accused of driving political violence, have come to Mugabe’s rescue since 2000 when Zanu PF party structures began to crumble as the MDC gained popularity.

Prior to the elections, the war veterans, often seen as rowdy and Mugabe’s shock-troopers in any election, demanded US$1 billion in fresh gratuities and diamond mining claims in the Marange diamond fields.

In a shock appeal before parliament’s Defence and Home Affairs Committee, some of the ex-combatants’ representatives Shadreck Makombe and Retired Major-General Richard Ruwodo said their 50 000-strong members wanted US$20 000 each, and gem mining concessions in Marange.

In 1997, the war veterans demanded and were awarded a ZW$50 000 gratuity each, triggering a decade-long recession in Zimbabwe. They also led the controversial chaotic land reform programme in 2000.

Insiders said the war veterans, who are treated as a reserve force under the Defence ministry, are also demanding separation of their portfolio from the defence portfolio and the formation of their own ministry, in line with trends in regional countries such as Namibia and Mozambique.



  • comment-avatar

    These so called “war vets” are nothing but low life blood suckers on Zimbabwes economy, if you want money go an get a job, if they cannot find jobs, they should demand jobs from Mugabe at his diamond mines!
    Soon zanupf supporters will find yet again that they have been used again at election time with false and unsustainable promises.
    It would be interesting to see the result if the whole of Zimbabwe does not pay it,s council rates and services bills, go ahead don,t pay, zanupf said you do not have to!

  • comment-avatar
    Mike Patterson 9 years ago

    Let the rot in hell!!!

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    When war veterans are paid they become mercenaries and as such can have no claim on resources.

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    mouce 9 years ago

    The beginning of the downfall in Zimbabwe was when Mugabe offered the war vets at the time $50,000 each – this was a lot of money – and of course drained the coffers to nothing. Is this going to happen again? Maybe the diamonds will be sufficient to pay them off once again.

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    Rudadiso 9 years ago

    There were 33 000 war vets at independence in 1980. The number mysteriously ballooned to 50 000 in 1997. Fast forward to 2013 and there are still 50 000.

    These people plead poverty but in a country with a life expectancy below 40, none of them die!

    And by the way, Jabulani Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba are not war vets. If you don’t believe me ask Dumiso Dabengwa and Dzino.

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    Chitova weGona 9 years ago

    Let them swing on Mugabe’s manhood until he dies a miserable death!Most of them were hiding while battles were raging only to sprout like mushrooms in 1998 and hold the country at ransom until now. They must wrk for their families and not be spoon fed.Those who fought did so for the love of the country not looting like we r witnessing today.

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    simon 9 years ago

    Ya…your God/idol Mugabe promises you the world for the last 33 yrs and still you live in hope……..he will die in office and you think he is worried about you lot? The genuine war vets are decent and deserve a comfy life not the 3/4 that are so called last war vets born during the war trying to loot the country. get off your asses and do an honest hard days work. My grandparents didn’t sit back and go make demands after fighting in second world war a much bigger more dangerous war which has helped you to be alive today in the long run…cause god help Africa if the Germans had won!! Food for thought.

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    MikeH 9 years ago

    War Vets ha!ha!ha! Parasitic imposters more like. The original so called war vets are long since dead, buried and forgotten or very close to it, having served mugabe’s purpose.