FORMER Zipra liberation war fighters in Matabeleland have bemoaned what they term a lack of fairness in the recent war veterans vetting exercise, labelling it as an unfair plan to sideline them from benefiting from the exercise.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
In a recent interview with Southern Eye, Retired Colonel Thomas Ngwenya, a former Zipra cadre, said he was deeply saddened by the way the vetting exercise was handled, as he had also been receiving many calls from his former combatants complaining that they were left out of the process.
“I was very unhappy with what I saw with my own eyes when I went to Mhlahlandlela last week to observe the process,” he said.
Ngwenya said from his observations, ex-liberation war fighters from the Zipra side were being turned away because they had worked in offices and not at camps during the struggle.
“What is also unfair is that ex-liberation war fighters from the Zanla side who worked in offices were not being turned away,” he lamented.
Ngwenya said the liberation fighters who worked in the offices and those from camps should have been equally vetted without any trouble as they had both participated in the liberation struggle. They had to both benefit from war vets programmes, he said.
“Participating in the liberation struggle does not mean that you were in the forefront training and carrying a gun all the time. People who were in offices also supported the guerillas and should benefit,” Ngwenya said.
He said it was also disheartening to note that there were some undeserving Zanu PF officials who were benefiting from the exercise at the expense of deserving beneficiaries.
“Some of those who are benefiting were not present during the struggle, but went out of the country,” he said. “They did not participate in the struggle as we did.”
An official from Zipra Veterans Trust, based at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex, Marshal Mpofu said, the vetting exercise was not properly done, much to the chagrin of most former liberation fighters.
“There was surely a lack of transparency and a lot of people were turned away over one reason or another,” he said. “There is a need for another process that will include all the formers fighters.”
Efforts to get a comment from the vetting team were fruitless, as they were said to have returned to Harare.