via Stop being cry babies, minister tells war vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 12, 2016
WAR Veterans minister Tshinga Dube yesterday blasted former freedom fighters, who claimed they were intimidated and barred from expressing their views at their meeting with President Robert Mugabe last Thursday.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Dube was responding to claims by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya that the event was hijacked by Zanu PF and State security agents, with the former fighters relegated to spectators at their own meeting.
“How can they be intimidated when they are war veterans? I amwondering how someone, who is not a war veteran, try to influence resolutions of an organ he is not a member of. This is really surprising,” he said.
Mahiya told NewsDay on Sunday that the technical team — composed mainly of serving military members – had hijacked the meeting and smuggled resolutions, which members of his association did not agree with.
But Dube described the claim as a “blatant lie”.
“It’s a lie! An absolute lie! No one was prevented from saying anything and no one smuggled any resolution presented to the President in his capacity as patron of the war veterans,” he said.
“People had the opportunity to table their issues and they did so freely. People, who presented thematic reports are war veterans and there is no way anyone can intimidate them or even smuggle in things they would have not discussed. People should stop politicising simple matters, which were straightforward. They had an opportunity to object to the reports at the meeting as opposed to what is happening now. We are left with suspicion as to what the real motive behind their so-called grievances.”
“I want to urge people to use proper channels of airing out views as opposed to this approach which is unhelpful. It distorts what happened and breaks down the unity which should exist among war veterans.”
At their crunch meeting held in the capital last Thursday, war veterans tabled several demands, among them the banning of party songs and slogan extolling anyone, but Mugabe and the removal of Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, saying the post should be a preserve of ex-liberation war fighters.
They also demanded an upward review of their monthly pensions, a stake in all mining concessions and automatic 99-year land leases.