BY BLESSED MHLANGA
ZIMBABWE’s liberation war fighters have declared war against alleged remnants of former President Robert Mugabe’s administration still in the public service, accusing them of stifling government programmes and sowing seeds of disharmony between them and President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Addressing journalists in the capital yesterday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Douglas Mahiya said they would not rest until all top civil servants who served under Mugabe were relieved of their government posts.
“We have gathered here again to look at our welfare. Not much has been done ever and this is caused by people serving in government. I want to tell you that in 1980 when we returned from the war the former regime, the former President (Mugabe) then removed us from the political structures and other people took over and those are the people that are taking decisions today,” he said.
He said the same people who plunged the war veterans into poverty under Mugabe were still driving the agenda of impoverishing them.
“There are people in the civil service who would not want to see the President improve relations with the war veterans and our welfare is not being looked at. We don’t understand why it is not being looked at all. Other sectors like the private sector and civil servants have been cushioned; war veterans have not been cushioned. War veterans are surviving on US$0,48c a day. Nothing has been done,” he said.
The war veterans led the campaign for Mugabe’s ouster in November 2017, accusing the then Zanu PF leader of sidelining them.
Mahiya said the war veterans were not happy with the way their welfare was being handled and vowed to continue piling pressure on government.
“We want to urge government and Parliament to speed the harmonisation of this law so that war veterans start benefiting from the constitutional provisions of their welfare,” he said.
Sources said war veterans were pushing for Mnangagwa to retire top civil servants perceived as sympathetic to Mugabe and appoint new faces.
“There is a feeling that President Mnangagwa should clean out government, especially the top bosses in ministries who are refusing to adapt to the new way of doing things. The war veterans want to occupy those top posts and are pushing that agenda,” a source said.
Defence and War Veterans deputy minister Victor Matemadanda referred all the questions to permanent secretary Grey Marongwe, who was unavailable for comment while Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri’s phone was being answered by aides who said she was locked in meetings.
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said he would only comment after gathering adequate information from relevant ministries.
“Can I give you a response on this tomorrow? I will need to find out what’s happening about their allowances from both the Defence and Finance ministries,” he said.