War ‘collabos’ wail at Mugabe snub

WAR collaborators and ex-detainees have lamented their exclusion from next month’s crunch meeting between combatant veterans of the liberation struggle and President Robert Mugabe.

Claimed some war veterans want him out ... President Robert Mugabe

Claimed some war veterans want him out … President Robert Mugabe

Mugabe, the country’s 92-year-old leader, called the April 7 meeting in a bid calm the former fighters who are furious at what the perceive as unacceptable abuse by his wife, Grace, and a Zanu PF faction backing her as next party leader.

The Zanu PF leader also appeared to back his wife and her G40 faction by firing from his cabinet war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa but an attempt to remove him from the helm of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association has, for now, been foiled.

Confirming the meeting at a rally in Bindura, Mugabe demanded frank exchanges with the former fighters, admitting that some wanted him to step down.

Now, members of the Zimbabwe war collaborators and ex-detainees association (ZILIWACO) say they are disappointed to be excluded from the meeting.

“It is our view that war collaborators must be given the opportunity to meet with President Robert Mugabe the leader of the Revolution,”ZILIWACO national spokesman Shane Chakanyuka told reporters in Harare Wednesday.

“There is so much in our hearts that we would want to share with President Mugabe.”

With the war veterans demanding $18,000 each before they meet Mugabe, Chakanyuka said it was their right to be included in anything that involves former freedom fighters.

He said ZILIWACO members have neither been vetted nor compensated for taking part in the struggle unlike their counterparts (war veterans) who got Z$50,000 each in 1997.

“We need to be recognized too. Our hearts are bleeding; Zanu PF is our party and nobody should cut this umbilical cord that has been firmly in place since the war of Liberation,” added Chakanyuka.

He threatened to “spill the beans” on problems affecting the ruling party.

“It is time the truth about what is happening in the party is told openly. We will not let go of our ownership of the revolution.

“We are full participants of the liberation struggle and we are well-informed of where we are and the direction of our revolution,” Chakanyuka added.

Cabinet ministers and heads of the security services met the war veterans leadership in Harare Wednesday to prepare for the April 7 meeting.

War veterans ministry permanent secretary Brigadier-General (Retired) Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi Mugabe was ready to meet the war collaborators.

“In terms of criteria for participation, the meeting heard that His Excellency will come to the meeting with his fellow leaders of the party who were in the liberation struggle,” Brig-Gen (Rtd) Tapfumaneyi said in a statement after the meeting.

“Invitations will be exclusive only to liberation war veterans, with His Excellency remaining ready to hold separate meetings subsequently with war collaborators and ex-detainees.

“All issues of concern will be discussed along the themes to be demarcated.

“The themes to be discussed will include, foremost, war veterans statutory welfare benefits such as monthly pensions, school fees, medical support, funeral cover, business loans and other measures aimed at improving their livelihoods.”

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