A ZANU PF MP broke down in tears yesterday during debate on the welfare of war veterans, saying most freedom fighters were struggling to take care of their young children from their mere $175 monthly stipends.
Annastancia Ndhlovu who got into Parliament through a Zanu PF ticket on proportional representation, briefly brought Parliament to a standstill as she struggled to overcome her emotions. Acting Speaker Melody Dziva (Zanu PF proportional representation MP) later said: “This is a very emotional topic and that is why the MP has been deeply moved.”
MPs are advocating for an upward review of the stipend.
Zanu PF Bindura South MP Remigious Matangira also added his voice onto the emotive issue saying his colleague was justified to cry.
“There is no way one would not cry. She would cry because it touches our hearts,” he said. We have been selfish filling our bellies at the expense of our sons and daughters.
“Where did we get those things that make us rich? Did we have those things before independence?
“We should look after those who gave us independence.”
Another Zanu PF MP Goodluck Kwaramba said the role of women who participated in the liberation struggle should also be recognised.
“It was difficult for girls during the war because they missed their menstrual periods due to poor diet,” he said. “They could not even indulge in sex and they had no sanitary pads to use during menstruation. They fought side by side with men and shared everything. However, when we came back home no one cared about war veterans and the word ‘war veteran’ meant poverty.”
Makonde MP Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF) read a letter written by a war collaborator Locardia Mutamirepi who expressed similar sentiments.
Bubi MP Clifford Sibanda (Zanu PF) said the government should find ways to ensure war veterans had shares at insurance companies and other State companies.