In particular, there is need to put in place a system that makes it possible for pensioners now living in the diaspora to get their money. As we report in this edition, the government owes pensioners outside the country more than $10 million, which has not been paid out to them in the last 10 years or so.
There seems to be unwillingness on the part of the departments responsible for paying the money to make sure that people are compensated for their long years of toil while they still worked here.
To worsen the situation, these diasporans are being asked to fill in forms in order to get their money. Some of them have already filled in forms on more than one occasion, yet they did not receive any money.
These people, who are now living in other parts of Africa, Europe and elsewhere, left Zimbabwe due to a variety of reasons â€“ most of them from 2000 onwards. One category is former commercial farmers who, after their land was forcibly taken away from them, felt they were no longer safe to remain in this country. Other elderly citizens had no choice but to follow their carers and relatives who had decided to settle abroad.
Yet others went out to pursue life and work opportunities when it became clear that the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe had become untenable.
Whatever the reasons for them choosing to move out of the country, they are not criminals and they deserve to get their pensions. It was bad enough for them to be forced to leave the country they knew as their only home.
Some of them are living outside on the mercy of well-wishers, because although they have lots of money accruing inside the country they cannot get it. The state has a moral and legal obligation to give to these people what belongs to them.
We are aware that even local pensioners are going through hell in order to get their money.Â This is mainly because of unnecessary red tape, a bad work attitude among those who are supposed to process pensions and an apparent desire to â€œfixâ€ these pensioners. There is nothing as painful as struggling to get whatever money you are entitled to because there are people who are not doing their job properly.
It is refreshing to learn that government has set up a new commission to look into the issue of pensions. While this is long overdue, it is still welcome. It is our hope that the commission, which is having its inaugural meeting soon, will come up with workable solutions to the woes that pensioners have suffered for a long time.
We hope the commission will help create a comprehensive data base of pensioners living locally and abroad, listen to their grievances and suggestions and, most importantly, pay them out in the most convenient way. They deserve respect and dignity.Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga