War vets punished for refusing to join reserve army (7-07-07)

AOUT 350 veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle who snubbed a war veteran's meeting held in Masvingo a fortnight ago which required them to join a reserve army ahead of the crucial next year's polls had their pensions and monthly allowance cancelled.

Masvingo provi

nce ahs 400 registered war veterans but less than 60 attended the meeting held at 41 brigade a few kilometers out of Masvingo city. As punishment the government cancelled them on the list of war veterans who benefit from the monthly allowances.

The ruling party has announced a drive to force war veterans and retired soldiers to register for a reserve army which analysts say want to beef up its violence machinery ahead of the critical harmonized elections next year.

Two war veterans who spoke on condition of anonymity said that scores of war veterans and retired soldiers who snubbed the calls had their names deliberately skipped on the list of beneficiaries and as a result missed their salaries.

“Less than 60 war veterans attended the meeting and those who were there said they registered their names on the list of the reserve army which need to be retrained before they are deployed into the rural areas to unleash violence during next year’s polls.

“As I speak right now those who joined the reserve force had their monthly allowances increased significantly and they are now getting100 000 less the amount paid to the serving army members of the rank of their retirement,” he said
As a response to mounting Challenge ahead of next year’s watershed elections, and in the face a recent alleged foiled coup plot president Mugabe has mooted the idea of rerecruting former liberation fighter as a reserve force as paranoia continue to grip the ageing leader.
Zimbabwe liberators platform, chairperson, Femias Chakabuda lambasted government for abusing war veterans in a bid to cling on to power.
“War veterans liberated Zimbabwe so that every body will participate in free and fair elections. What the government is doing is a clear abuse of the veterans of our struggle for independence. They played their roll and liberated the country and they should not be used as symbols of violence to their own people because Zanu pf want to stay in power,” said Chakabuda.
The liberation war fighters were in 1997 given hefty gratuities of $50 000 which then was a lot of money that could buy a car and a modest house in town. Economist says that that was the turning point of the economic demise of Zimbabwe because of the massive printing of unbudgeted money, which triggered inflation- CAJ News.

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