BY MOSES MATENGA
WAR veterans, who are part of Zanu PF structures, have accused the ruling party leadership of neglecting them, saying they were wallowing in abject poverty due to the country’s economic decay under the new dispensation.
This was revealed in their report to the Zanu PF central committee last week during the party’s annual conference in Bindura.
The ex-freedom fighters said their plight had been worsened by government’s failure to address the country’s health delivery system which is in comatose.
Their statement comes soon after 39 war veterans were arrested in Harare last week and charged with gathering to promote public violence as they demanded a review of their monthly pensions.
In their report to Zanu PF, they said the poor health systems in the country had made them vulnerable.
“The welfare of the liberation struggle (veterans) continues to be undermined by inflation regardless of many efforts that have been made to cater for their wellbeing,” read the report by the ex-freedom fighters led by Zanu PF secretary for war veterans, Douglas Mahiya.
“Many of them are now living the last 20 years of their lives. The monthly pension payout for veterans has been eroded by the current economic conditions. The majority of the veterans of the liberation struggle are advanced in age and most of them suffer from chronic illnesses that need regular medical attention.
“Many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and war psychosomatic stress, while some were injured during the liberation struggle and lost limbs. All these conditions require a specialised medical service, however, continuous efforts to at least have medical aid specifically for veterans have been fruitless and our comrades are dying each day due to neglect and deteriorating health.”
The war veterans also said they were finding it difficult to pay their children’s school fees, while also bemoaning lack of funding for funeral assistance to the departed freedom fighters.
On pensions, the war veterans said: “The current monthly pension payout to the veterans of the liberation struggle has been eroded by the current inflation rates. As such, most veterans are wallowing in abject poverty. The issue of increasing the pension was brought to the fore for over 10 years and nothing has materialised. Veterans are dying each day due to challenges arising from economic hardships.”