via Zim at 34: War collaborators challenge welfare provision | The Zimbabwean 15.04.14 by Edgar Gweshe
As Zimbabwe marks 34 years of independence, liberation war collaborators have made calls for the government to involve them in national programmes so that they can benefit from the country’s resources.
Gandiya said that the welfare of a huge proportion of their membership was still a subject of major concern and, as a result, they had had to use money from membership subscriptions to help some war collaborators start income-generating projects.
“We formed a war collaborators’ group while Saviour Kasukuwere was still the indigenisation minister, and we put forward our expectations. As of now, we have not been able to benefit. We are not saying that we should be the ones to benefit first, but we feel we should get something for the role that we played for this country.”
Gandiya said politicians were abusing their influence by amassing wealth while the majority of Zimbabweans wallowed in abject poverty. She said the country’s resources were supposed to benefit all locals, whatever their race, gender and political affiliation.
“We fought in the liberation war so that everyone could be free and be able to enjoy the benefits that come with independence. There have been pledges put forward, but we need more than talk.
“For example, in the area of mining, everyone should be able to benefit, not just the political elite. We are saying no to issues such as multiple farm ownerships,” said Gandiya.
Gandiya, however, remained optimistic that government would be able to meet the war collaborators’ demands and improve their welfare. “It’s a process that takes time, but our plea is that the government should give us something before we die so that we can leave something for our families. Some of our members spent a lot of time in the bush and did not have the opportunity to go to school.”
She called for political tolerance among Zimbabweans saying this would lead to peace and, ultimately, to development.
“Independence was for all of us, including those in the opposition parties. We might differ politically, but we should not be seen to hate each other. Independence means that all Zimbabweans are free and we should be living peacefully as one,” said Gandiya.