Govt buckles under war vets’ pressure

via Govt buckles under war vets’ pressure – DailyNews Live by Chengetai Zvauya  2 FEBRUARY 2014 

Government has agreed to look into the welfare of war veterans after they demanded a hike in their pensions.

This comes 16 years after war veterans bullied the government into paying them billions of Zimbabwean dollars in gratuities, which sent the dollar crashing, and the economy on a downward spiral.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Finance minister, told Parliament during debate on the budget last week that government was going to set up a committee made up of war veterans, officials from ministry of Defence and Finance to confirm the correct number of surviving war veterans and their beneficiaries before looking into their welfare.

“I had a meeting with honourable (Zanu PF MP  for Buhera South) Joseph Chinotimba, on the issue of the welfare of war veterans, especially on the outstanding school fees of their children,” Chinamasa said.

“The war veterans must know that they are in my heart and I will attend to their issue.

“ I informed  Chinotimba of my desire to help them  and we have agreed  to set up a team from officials from my ministry, Defence and the war veterans so that they can verify their numbers and we can move forward to help them despite the financial challenges we are facing.”

The issue was raised by legislators in the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services parliamentary portfolio committee chaired by Clifford Sibanda, the Zanu PF MP for Bubi, during post-budget consultations.

Sibanda had a torrid time trying to mollify agitated legislators led by Chinotimba, who argued that government has been neglecting their welfare for a long time.

Chinotimba urged Zanu PF MPs to support his motion because they were also war veterans.

“There are war veterans ministries in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola and why not here in Zimbabwe?” queried Chinotimba.

“We need our own ministry led by people who understand what we went through in the war, and if I show that person injuries and scar marks on my legs that I incurred in the war, he will understand it, not someone who has not fought the war.

“When I am talking about the war veterans issue I am not speaking as a legislator, but as a war veteran.

We have young children who are still going to school and their school fees and hospital fees needs to be paid but there is no money that we are getting from government to support us.”

He continued: “The monthly upkeep, as a pension we are getting is too little and we have been crying out for a long time that we need government to help us but nothing has been happening.

“Our situation was much better in the 1990s when we had a ministry led by the late Witness Mangwende, but now it has changed as we are just a department in the ministry of Defence and no one is looking after us anymore.”

Chinamasa allocated US $18 million to the war veterans as a department in the ministry of Defence, which the legislators claim was too little as the war veterans had asked for $58 million.

The Buhera South legislator got support across the political divide, with legislators Tendai Makunde (Murehwa South), Oliver Mandipika (Buhera West), Lucia Matibenga (Kuwadzana) and  Mapetere Mawere
(Zaka west) rallied behind Chinotimba, who lamented that the war veterans were facing destitution.

In the 1990’s a ministry of war veterans  was set up by President Robert Mugabe  under  the  late Witness Mangwende, which was  responsible for  the  distribution of the War Victims Compensation Fund, which was later abused by many politicians and war veterans.

The War Victims Compensation Fund was suspended pending an investigation amid reports that high-level government officials and their relatives looted more than Z$112 billion or an equivalent of US $450 million.

Chinotimba said they were asking for a review of their pensions so that they are linked to the poverty datum line, currently pegged at US $540.

Mugabe is patron of the war veterans, who wield immense influence in his ruling party because they are the centrepiece of its electioneering machine, waging violence and terror against the opposition at every election to ensure victory for the party.

The ex-combatants also spearheaded the government’s controversial land reform programme touted by Mugabe as his administration’s best achievement since coming to power in 1980 but blamed by critics for destroying the mainstay agricultural sector and causing food shortages.

Chinotimba said the Z$50 000 they received in 1997 as pension had long been exhausted as they have not received any benefit from the state over the past 15 years.

The veterans of the 70s liberation struggle also demanded mining concessions to improve their welfare.



  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    Tapiwa 9 years ago

    The war vets in this country have become like parasites that will never stop insisting on handouts. They are bullies and beggars. Where else in the world do war vets constantly clamour for freebies for a war they fought 35 years ago? Nowhere. In most other places, war vets have more pride than that. Also, how many real war vets are there? because it seems like many of them are fakes in any case. Just because some of them fought a war 35 years ago should not give them the right to intimidate and bully, or be given hand outs. If you want money, enda kutora basa.

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    Ruramai 9 years ago

    The irony of it is Chinotimba is not a liberation. He only made it as far as a refugee camp.

    In addition, the so called war vets, whose number was just over 30 0000 rather than the 50 000 who received $50 000 apiece in 1997 received adequate compensation. This was a guerrilla war which involved virtually everyone in the countryside. The rural folk went bankrupt in an effort to feed the fighters, some of whom sexually abused many a village girl and impregnated them. After the war they never went back for their children.

    Then there were the mujibhas and chimbwidos who were more exposed to danger than the combatants because they scouted the war zones to figure our the enemy movements. 34 years later these leeches just never stop. Can someone please tell them the war was a national effort and the majority are reeling in poverty under a brutal,merciless and corrupt dictatorship.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 9 years ago

    How about a Ministry for Gukurahundi? Several children of victims of gukurahundi don’t have birth certificates, cannot afford education, health facilities, they lost homes and livestock etc. They also a need a budget and full time minister who must be a victim of gukurahindi.

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    Phibion 9 years ago

    In 1981 the war vets were paid a demobilization allowance. I remember when I was in high school at Hartzell high there used to be this guy an ex combatant who was a year or so behind my stream, he used to go and collect at least $181 per month from the post office. A rich student he was by all measures

    I am sure the same guy benefited in 1997 from the $50 000. How long can these war veterans continue to fleece us. Demob pay was supposed to set these guys for life. But they chose to spend the money on beer and women.

    At any rate lets say they all got married in 1980 and had children then these children should be well over 30 years old, so what school fees is Chinotimba talking about. If the war vets are still siring children then they are indeed a menace to breeding

    How long can this nation of Zimbabwe continue to be held to ransom. I for one never crossed the boarder into Mozambique, yet I experienced and collaborated in the war in one way or another. Have I ever claimed compensation No! I feel it was national duty and national duty is national duty.

    The register of war vets as of 1997 should be made public, these guys must be well over 55 by now and if they have failed in 33 years to be self sustaining then hello Zimbabwe we have a problem. Very soon the paramilitary militia green bombers will be demanding compensation for the so called hondo ye minda. The cycle will never end.

    China-Masa please Get the factories running and get these people employed to end the viscous cycle of over dependency

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    Patriot 9 years ago

    As matter is of national importance, frank national debate on the matter wd be essential. To begin with can someone reveal the war vets’ CURRENT pension? Secondly their right to survive wd need be appreciated simultaneous with that of rest of gvt pensioners who have contributed emmensely to national development.

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    Chess player 9 years ago

    These guys have got Bob by the balls.

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      Jambanja paSalisbury 9 years ago

      And they must hold them/the balls firm! Ya-a!

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    Mukanya 9 years ago

    They want a ministry for what?

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    gonzo 9 years ago

    most war vets died of aids years ago and the rest are in high places its time to move on and get a job.

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    Candid 9 years ago

    I agree. The war was a national effort and it affected everyone, from the fighters to peasants in the rural areas. The war veterans have been given enough payouts by government. They were not employees of the state. They willingly and voluntarily went to war. Yes, it had to be done.

    The issue that the Robert Mugabe led government has failed to establish a thriving society with a high standard of living for all citizens is not our problem. The nation cannot be held to ransom by these vagabonds. At this point in time, I think the most we can bestow on them is social recognition – don’t stand in queues, give them a medal, get first priority on government schemes (loans, inputs schemes, etc).

    Should our past always hold our future to ransom?

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      Chitova weGona 9 years ago

      Thanks for your candid comment. Surely for how long shall this country be held at ransom? The very productive people are struggling to get a decent salary but Joseph and his cohorts want be given $540 for doing nothing. Some of them never held a gun but still make huge noise. They must be told to shut it! Havasvodi!

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    muzimbo 9 years ago

    The whole population and not only war vets need their welfare to be looked into becoz gvt has neglected its wellbeing for too long. Iyo nyaya yokuita sectorisation of the population when it comes to issues to do with welfare improvements yakambobva nokupi. Ko vasiri mawar vets vanowaneivo kana mawar vets akapiwa mari sezvakamboitika futi paya. Economy ndiyo inodiwa chete kuti imutswe vanhu vagozvishandira kwete zvima piece-meal efforts zvakadai izvi. Zvino manje muchaona kuti mawar vet aya achatowanda kudarika what they were originally paya pavakambopiwa futi nokuti there are so many war vets who have come out since then. Muchaona henyu, nehuori huri muZanu uhu

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    i was born in 1971.i was so traumatised by the war because pamba pedu panga pari pabase.painerwa mavillagers achiombereswa nanamukoma.hanzvadzi navatete vachiitwa masex objects isu tichidongorera.mabhunu aibvawo nerimwe divi achinongoshungurudzawo.
    vakomana magumbeze nehuku zvakapera tichitsigira hondo.nhasi uno pane vari ndiwo vakarwa hondo vega.iam going to claim hupfumi hwangu hwakaparara kana mawar vets vakada kuchenjeresa.

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    rebel 9 years ago

    Eish ma1 chaiwo.Chero akaremara nepolio anongoti ndakakwara muhondo.My parents became poor coz they supported chimurenga strongly. Giving food and blankets to the fighters without crossing the border was enough. That’s patrotism. But what did they get after independence for their support nothing.
    Some of us were gvt workers and left a few months b4 the GNU. No pensions were paid until now coz ndiyo time ye too many zeros. The GVT still owes us so they must pay us first before they give avo vasinga goni kuzvichengeta. Imwezve mari yekutengera mombe macabbage nemaTV. Kana.

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    kariba 9 years ago

    hey this is obscene and can someone explain all this madness.Yes compensation is good when you deserve it.Teachers nurses and other government workers need to be compensated.they once worked for nothing between 2007 and 2008.I remember that I last got my monthly pay in May 2008 until February 2009.9 months without pay and that could not buy a 2kg of sugar for my family of 4 by then and I kept going to work even with nothing in return. That was a tough war but because of our passion for generations to come we kept it rolling. Sadly sometimes our own people were pursuing us in this war. But don’t worry if you don’t want to look into these genuine compensation, God will do it on your behalf.

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    MikeH 9 years ago

    Given the life expectancy in Zimbabwe, which is currently one of the lowest in the world at around 35 to 40 years, there can’t be many, if any, genuine war vets still alive. Any who might still be around won’t be for much longer, just like mugabe.

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    For goodness’ sake, these guys got $50k & had they invested it, it was enough to change their livelihood for the rest of their lives. But they chose to buy cabbages for cows! They are the same guys who got the land so that they can be self-sufficient & be masters of their destiny,but no,they have turned our beloved country into a house of hunger. Those who are a bit educated have been awarded with managerial posts at parastals which they have turned into looting grounds, fattening their pockets & bankrupting them. It is for these and many other misdeamenours that have turned them from liberation heroes into a national liabity & the most loathed. Since when are they going to learn to be responsible citizens who contribute positively to the growth of the country they put their lives on the line for. Surely they didn’t go to war to destroy this country. Makatisunungura kuti mugotisungirira here?

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    Gwanyamwanya We Mahobo 9 years ago

    Chinotimba waiva mujibha muBikita umu muDevuli Range neni. War vet wekupi? Uye waiva gwara guru, kumhanya pakutiza hakuna waimubata. Iwe Chinotimba dzikama.

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    die groot wyt aap 9 years ago

    The magumaguma in government do not worry about your wovits. They are old and impotent and thus can no longer rape women and children. They are too weak and lazy and cannot make war, so they complain like old women.

    Your new black master Mnangagwa is already planning his second gukurahundi. He has no use for your wovits and they will suffer the same fate as the Matabele. This time he will use the Green Bombers for his fifth brigade because they work cheap.

    Your lot in life will not change for the better.

    sweet dreams comrades, sweet dreams

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    cdeirshroud 9 years ago

    we deserve payouts, we died for this country!