The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has come out guns blazing, accusing Zanu PF of patronising its membership during elections and then dumping them soon after.
Lamenting that its members continue to wallow in abject poverty, the former war combatants also demanded their share of top posts within the ruling party, presumably as a reward for their prominent participation in the November 2017 coup that toppled former President Robert Mugabe.
In a video recording of a meeting held at Karoi Country Club on Sunday, gleaned by NewsDay, ZNLWVA Mashonaland West chairperson, Cornelius Muoni bemoaned the deteriorating relationship between the ex-freedom fighters and Zanu PF, reiterating the bitterness was due to the continued abuse and neglect of his association’s members.
“How can there be a cordial relationship between us and Zanu PF when you look down upon us? This has led to the strained relations existing as we speak.
“We want to re-affirm our loyalty and respect for His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa). However, we put it across that war veterans are down-trodden and are languishing in abject poverty despite having fought for the country’s independence. This neglect has been the case for years, resulting in the ordinary people shunning us.
We’re suffering,” Muoni said. ZNLWVA Mashonaland West further demanded that some senior Zanu PF posts be reserved for former guerilla fighters because they were the vanguards of the party.
Muoni alleged that some rich opportunists had infiltrated the party and leveraged on their wealth to secure top posts, thereby exposing Zanu PF to imperialists’ machinations.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, who represented Mnangagwa at the meeting conceded the discord and acrimony between government and war veterans, but challenged both parties to mend the rift.
“You are our eyes and ears and also our spokespersons in various communities. War veterans hear a lot of bad things about us as we are denigrated, but you have resolutely
remained behind us.
“Let us realise that economic saboteurs will tighten screws in a bid to destabilise the country.”
She added that Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri had, through a recent letter, instructed her to identify a 500-hectare farm for allocation to ex-combatants in order to improve their welfare.
Mliswa-Chikoka told the war veterans to fend off hunger by actively participating in the ensuing economic revolution, as espoused in Vision 2030, and augment their meagre $200 government allowances through income-generating projects.
Last month, war veterans in Mashonaland Central raised similar concerns after they were sidelined during Independence Day celebrations in Bindura.