GOVERNMENT is engaging foreign embassies with the view to secure financial support to provide post war trauma treatment and counselling to war veterans, while moves are also afoot to set up a memorial hospital for ex-combatants.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
War Veterans minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa said it was no surprise some war veterans’ suffered from mental disorders and trauma resulting from being involved in combat due to lack of post-conflict treatment.
Mutsvangwa said funding shortages were hampering efforts to assist ex-combatants, hence his Ministry had approached Western embassies for support to address post war trauma.
“Beyond that, we are now working with some of the embassies of those countries, which were inimical to working with the war veterans, they are coming on board. Some of these countries have a lot of experience because they have been involved in many wars since the First World War.
“We are hoping that we can tap into their expertise to deal with the disorders, which are being referred to. The response we are getting, even from the Western embassies, is good. I hope that in due course, the European Union may, for the first time, consider including the issues of the war veterans in its indicative programmes. These issues of welfare and post war trauma nature can be addressed,” Mutsvangwa said this in the National Assembly on Thursday.
He was responding to a question from Musikavanhu legislator, Prosper Mutseyami on what government was doing to assist war veterans who were now either mentally disturbed, or are traumatised as a result of their involvement in the liberation struggle.
The War Veterans’ minister said Cabinet had since approved the setting up of an ex-combatants memorial hospital to assist those suffering from post-war trauma or any other disorders.
“We are very grateful that one of the largest Indian companies, if not the largest civil contracting company, is keen to be associated with war memorial hospitals for the war veterans. Once we have those hospitals, which will be open to everyone, we may also have a section dedicated to the issues which have been raised by Mutseyami.
“These issues have not been properly addressed, 35 years into independence, but now we are rising to the occasion.”
Government pays ex-combatants monthly gratuities for their upkeep, but they argue the pay-outs do not match their sacrifices. In 1997, war veterans’ were given Z$50 000 as pension for their participation in the war.