President to meet 10 000 war vets | The Herald April 1, 2016
Hebert Zharare Deputy News Editor—
President Mugabe is expected to meet at least 10 000 former freedom fighters at the City Sports Centre in Harare on Thursday next week for a crunch indaba to discuss issues affecting former freedom fighters and the country. This emerged during the second and last inter-ministerial stakeholder preparatory meeting for President Mugabe and war veterans in Harare yesterday that was chaired by Secretary for War Veterans, Detainees and Restrictees and Defence Minister Dr Sydney Tigere Sekeramayi.
President Mugabe, who is also patron of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWA), called for the April 7 meeting after the one in February was called off as it was unprocedurally convened.
Yesterday’s meeting received, discussed and adopted a progress report of the Interministerial/Stakeholders Organising Committee, which was tasked to look into all details relevant to preparation, content management, conduct and expected outcomes of President Mugabe’s meeting with war veterans.
The Organising Committee, comprised experts drawn from the ruling party, Government, the security forces and war veterans.
This multilateral planning was necessitated by the fact that President Mugabe’s participation in the meeting with war veterans elevated it to a State occasion and a parade of the Patron and Commander-in-Chief, with all the attendant protocol and security requirements.
In a statement after the meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaboratoes, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees, Brigadier-General (Retired) Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi, said yesterday’s meeting was a follow- up to the one held on March 23.
“The meeting approved the City Sports Centre as the venue of the President’s meeting. It approved a total of 10 000 delegates to be invited. This figure comprises the President and his fellow leaders of the party who were in the liberation struggle, the entire leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association from the national executive down to the district level, war veterans who are in the civil service and war veterans, to be identified at district level, who may not be members of the association and do not at the same time hold any positions.
“This last category will stress members of the High Command and General Staffs of both ZANLA and ZIPRA, field commanders of all levels, instructors, the war wounded/maimed, female combatants and any other unranked comrades. The total number of participants was deemed to be sufficiently representative of the 34 093 surviving war veterans, yet also remaining logistically and practically manageable for an interactive meeting of such magnitude,” he said.
Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumanei said the deliberations would be organised into a number of thematic areas.
He said the delegates were expected to assemble on Tuesday, with substantive deliberations beginning on Wednesday in thematic groups ahead of the crunch meeting on Thursday.
“His Excellency the President then meets the delegates in plenary on 7th April 2016, where he will listen to the reports and resolutions of the thematic groups, before delivering his keynote address. Official proceedings will conclude after the patron’s interaction with the war veterans and delegates then disperse on 8th April 2016.
“Only invited and accredited war veterans will be allowed to participate. The meeting also approved the administrative and logistical requirements for the President’s meeting. Contrary to negative sentiments and positions that were pronounced or circulated after the first meeting, all members who attended that meeting participated in the present one. All those present participated enthusiastically and as usual, discussion was frank and cordial.
“The meeting, therefore, achieved its goal of cementing further the preparations for His Excellency’s meeting with war veterans. It agreed that all is on course for an orderly, dignified, frank and resoundingly successful conversation between His Excellency the President and his fellow war veterans on 7th April 2016,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Minister of National Security and Secretary for National Security in the Politburo Comrade Kembo Mohadi, Secretary for Administration in the Politburo and Minister of Home Affairs Honourable Comrade Ignatius Chombo and Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Colonel (Retired) Tshinga Dube.
Others are Resident Minister for Manicaland Cde Mandiitawepi Chimene in her capacity as the secretary for information in ZNLWVA, Deputy Chief Secretaries to the President and Cabinet Colonel (Rtd) Christian Katsande and Cde A. Mpamhanga, representing the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
Also in attendance were Brigadier- General (Rtd) Tapfumaneyi, Commander Defence Forces Dr General Constantine Chiwenga; Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe; Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Commander Zimbabwe National Army; Deputy Commissioner General Levy Sibanda, representing the Commissioner-General of Police.
Cde Aaron Daniel Tonde Nhepera, Deputy Director-General, representing Director-General President’s Department; Deputy Commissioner-General Fadzai Mupfure, representing Commissioner-General Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.
Also in attendance were Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, national chairman of the ZNLWVA along with his entire national executive as elected at the general congress of the ZNLWVA held at Great Zimbabwe Hotel, in Masvingo, on November 15-16, 2014.