via War collaborators seek president meeting too – Sunday News Apr 3, 2016
Tinomuda Chakanyuka Sunday News Reporter
WAR collaborators and ex-detainees have requested a meeting with President Mugabe to present their grievances, among them compensation for the role they played during the liberation struggle. The war collaborators and ex-detainees recently lamented being “disqualified” from the meeting between war veterans and the President set for Harare’s City Sports Centre on Thursday.
Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators and Association (Ziliwaco) national chairperson Cde Pupurai Togarepi told Sunday News last week that they had tabled a request to meet President Mugabe via War Veterans Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube.
He said Rtd Col Dube had given them assurance that the meeting would be held right on the heels of President Mugabe’s crunch meeting with the ex-freedom fighters this week.
“Our minister assured us soon after the war veterans meeting the President would meet war collaborators and ex-detainees to hear of their plight. This was after we put our request for the meeting through him, and we are glad that there has been a positive response. We are eagerly looking forward to the meeting,” he said.
He said previous efforts to have their plight addressed through various Government departments had been futile, hence the decision to request a meeting with the President.
“We have a number of issues in our hearts, issues that only President Mugabe can understand. We have taken the matter of our plight to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare before when we were still registered as a public voluntary organisation to no avail.
“We even drafted a war collaborators and ex-detainees bill hoping to have an Act to safeguard our welfare but all that has not helped. Now we feel that the only person to meet and present our concerns to is President Mugabe. He is the only one who can fully appreciate our plight,” Cde Togarepi said.
The war collaborators and ex-detainees leader said among some of the issues they would want to discuss with President Mugabe was the vetting of collaborators and ex-detainees to facilitate compensation and access to other privileges in recognition of their role during the war.
He said while they understood that Government may be resource constrained and could not immediately compensate war collaborators and ex-detainees, they expected non-monetary recognition, which would help improve their welfare in the interim.
“Vetting of war collaborators and ex-detainees is one of the major issues we would want to discuss with the President. We had been promised that we would be vetted in March but until now nothing has happened.
“We’ve done our vetting but Government needs to conduct its own process to identify genuine war collaborators and ex-detainees. Another major issue we would want to table before the President is the issue of compensation and the plight of war collaborators and ex-detainees,” he said.
President Mugabe is expected to meet over 10 000 former freedom fighters at a crunch meeting on Thursday to discuss issues affecting the war veterans. Some of the issues expected to be discussed during the meeting include war veterans’ statutory benefits such as school fees for the children, medical cover, monthly pensions and business loan measures to improve their welfare.