WAR COLLABORATORS in Matabeleland South, who worked with the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) during the liberation war, have complained that the government continues to sideline them, as they have not been rewarded for their work.
They said they felt cheated, as according to the information they have, other collaborators, who worked with the Zanla forces during the war, were being compensated.
Mncedisi Dube from Mtshabezi area at Ukhozi village yesterday said he was a war collaborator who worked with the Zipra fighters, who operated in Mtshabezi and surrounding areas between 1977 and 1979.
“We have not benefited for what we did during the war yet we laid our lives for the safety of villagers and Zipra forces,” he said.
“We were being sent to the shops to buy cigarettes and we even monitored the situation on the ground so as to report to the guerrillas what was happening in the area.”
Dube said that meant they were in danger of being killed by the Rhodesian soldiers had they known they were collaborators. “Sadly 34 years after independence, the government has not shown appreciation as we have not yet been rewarded for the support we rendered to the fighters,” he said.
“We feel cheated and neglected by the government, as we continue to wallow in poverty despite our contribution to independence.
“My father also made gun butts for the Zipra fighters and he on several occasions hosted the liberation fighters who got injured in war providing treatment to them until they recovered.”
Dube said in 1983 after independence, Gukurahundi genocide soldiers deployed by the government descended at Mtshabezi where they burnt his father’s home accusing him of harbouring dissidents.
“I want to ask the government that; was the torture we suffered and the neglect we are being given a reward for our collaboration with the liberation fighters during the war?”
Dube said he was appealing vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko to help facilitate that they receive compensation.
“We were, in early 2013, made to fill forms, which we were told were to facilitate our compensation,” he continued.
“The forms requested us to write our names and the names of the liberation war fighters who operated in our areas whom we assisted during the war.
“We do not know if that was a political party’s campaign gimmick or it was true, as since then, we have not heard anything from the government concerning compensation.”
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa said as a new leader of the organisation, he needed to be given time to look into issues affecting war veterans, war collaborators and detainees.