BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
WAR veterans in Karoi have demanded more cash from Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, instead of being given loans for income-generating
The issue arose during a public hearing on the 2021 budget last week by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance with Hurungwe residents.
Hurungwe district war veteran Ben Chipanda said war veterans were now too old to embark on income-generating projects, adding that they, instead, wanted their stipends to be increased.
“War veterans are too old to take on chicken-rearing projects. Personally, as a war veteran, I am not happy over the move to allocate a fund for war veterans. I am speaking on behalf of many war veterans who failed to come here today at the meeting which was also not advertised well on time for planning purposes,” he said.
“The money allocated for us to venture into chicken rearing is like a joke to us. At our age (the majority of us are above 60 years) we cannot be keeping chickens as an income-generating project. We want cash. We are too old for chicken rearing. We must get cash so that we plan for our families.”
Chakari MP Andrew Nkani (Zanu PF), who chaired the meeting, said $37,5 million had been allocated to war veterans so that they could embark on projects to sustain themselves.
Nkani said last year, there was a recommendation for the 2021 budget to consider coming up with a revolving fund for women, youths and war veterans.
‘‘Treasury allocated $37,5 million to each sector through recapitalisation of Empower Bank, Zimbabwe Women Finance Bank, POSB, among others, that cater for small and medium businesses. This was also done for war veterans under National Venture Fund. It will empower and capacitate them to participate in the mainstream economy,’’ he said.
But war veterans said the majority of them now lived like “vagabonds” due to measly stipends they got against the continuously rising cost of living.
During the late former President Robert Mugabe’s era, war veterans got a $50 000 windfall each in 1997, but the majority of them blew it up as they could not embark on income-generating projects.