Defence ministry says war vets vetting process almost complete

Following a ‘lengthy silence,’ the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans says it is nearing the end of the war veterans vetting process.

The veterans of the liberation struggle were vetted from March to April.

However, the ZPRA Veterans Association expressed concern about the lack of communication and progress from that time, claiming that the government has provided no explanation.

As a result, the association made numerous efforts to push the responsible ministry.

In a statement issued on November 6, 2022, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans stated that it was “in the process of finalising the completion of personal details of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle who went through the vetting process in April this year.”

“Whilst the personal details of the majority of the veterans were properly captured, there are some individuals, primarily war collaborators with incomplete details,” read the statement.

According to the defence ministry, names of these individuals with incomplete information have been distributed to provincial and district field officers.

“These individuals will be advised through the usual communication channels, to report to the nearest offices with the required documents,” said the ministry.

“It is, therefore, necessary to correct the impression created through several social media articles that all those with vetting slips should report to the nearest district or provincial offices for the verification process. This is not the case. It is only those with incomplete information who should report after being contacted.”

Further clarification on the vetting can be obtained from the War Collaborators Section of the Department of War Veterans Affairs at +263 242 710238, +263 242 710553, and +263 242 710251, according to the ministry.

ZPRA Veterans Association, Secretary General, Petros Sibanda, chastised the ministry for failing to communicate and allowing “rumours” to spread on social media.

“Vetting of cadres started early this year and on August 31 it was announced there is going to be communication and information on the processes taking place to be announced but the government went quiet on the issue. There was dead silence,” he said in an interview with CITE.

“All we were hearing were rumours in WhatsApp and just seeing a lot of different things on the issue yet we have a ministry that should give us the information through their provincial and district offices. Things should be done the right way.”

Sibanda said the vetted cadres “have become impatient” and are still waiting for compensation for sacrifices they endured during the liberation struggle.

“Cadres are calling on the government to make an announcement on when those who qualified will be compensated. Answers are also wanted for those who failed to be vetted for one reason or the other including those who are in the diaspora. As you know, the ministry had in August once propagated a date for such an announcement,” he said.

The former ZPRA fighter claimed that several attempts to obtain answers from high-ranking government officials, including board members of the Veterans for the Liberation Struggle, had failed.

“Therefore, ZPRA veterans directed the association to knock hard, write letters to the responsible minister and highlight the despondency which they have created, not to mention the disgruntlement from members who were recently vetted and are yet to be compensated,” Sibanda said, noting the vetting process should be done expeditiously.

“Remember, we are not here for life, people are either ill, sick, aging or dying the ministry should consider such factors that are affecting quite a number of our membership, so the processes of paying them should be done at speed.”

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