DEFENCE and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has revealed liberation war veterans are set to receive end-of-year bonuses denominated in United States Dollars, a privilege not extended to civil servants.
The move is widely seen as aimed at appeasing the restive and easily irritable veterans of the 1970s liberation war after they recently demonstrated against their measly allowances and picketed at Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s offices two weeks ago demanding an upward review.
They also remonstrated with police officers who blocked them from storming President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Munhumutapa offices in Harare where they sought to submit a petition.
Muchinguri-Kashiri, who was addressing the military top brass at a 2022 strategic planning workshop in Kariba, said Treasury had undertaken to pay war veterans in forex.
“Already, a commitment has been made by Treasury to pay war veterans bonuses this year, a part of which is likely to be in foreign currency. Measures are also being taken to further improve benefits of the veterans,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“The ministry also has obligations to administer the welfare services of veterans of the liberation struggle. And as we plan for 2022 and beyond, it is critical for us not to leave them behind. They are an important constituent of our society by virtue of the sacrifices towards Mother Zimbabwe from the jaws of colonial bondage,” she said
She said war veterans’ welfare issues remain government’s priority.
“The need for these cadres to live decent lives is an absolute imperative, especially now when the majority are in their twilight years. Their empowerment programmes, therefore, need to be prioritised. In this regard, its noteworthy that the ministry, to date, has managed to institute a Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board, which was launched by His Excellency the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa),” she added.
The launch culminated in the formation of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Holdings, an investment vehicle that will see them participate in various economic sectors.
“Our veterans would be involved in various sectors of the economy with a view to free the fiscus from catering for their welfare.”
She also Muchinguri-Kashiri exhorted the military to take its role of ensuring peace and stability seriously in the country’s quest to achieve Vision 2030, by which time the economy will be upper middle class.
“Cognizant of our important role in the attainment of Vision 2030 objectives, our short and long-term objectives should be in tandem with National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 and Vision 2030. The ministry has an integral part in attainment of Vision 2030 with the duty of providing a peaceful and enabling environment for sustainable economic growth,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“The army and airforce must be adequately prepared to face worst-case scenarios and unfamiliar threats. The need to be prepared is becoming more apparent in the face of negative developments in the defence and security landscape with the emergence of new threats, among others, terrorism, cyber security and climate change,” she said. – Newzim