Former political prisoners appeal for bailout

The Zimbabwe Ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees association (ZEPPDRA) has complained about the neglect of its members some of whom are reportedly leading destitute lives.

ZEPPDRA has structures in all the country’s 10 provinces.

The association was established with the strength of the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees, And Restrictees Act [Chapter 17:10].

The objective is to provide for the establishment of schemes for the provision of assistance to ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees and their dependents and establish a fund to finance such assistance.

Through the fund, some of the former political prisoners get pension payouts on a monthly basis while several others have not been vetted.

Roger Mahlangu, who chairs the Matabeleland North chapter of the association said some members were struggling in life.

He appealed to the government to urgently look into the issue and provide a welfare fund, especially for children of the former detainees for their welfare and schooling.

“We have problems as ex-political prisoners and detainees,” said Mahlangu.

He said some members were not getting their pensions.

“Some of our members are struggling. We wish to be taken care of with our children and dependents. Government should at least commit to giving everyone their pensions or start some projects which can generate money for members and their children to take care of education and other needs,” said Mahlangu.

There are about 300 former detainees in Matabeleland North.

Former political prisoners comprise those that spent many years in political detention.

Many of their colleagues were hanged extra-judicially by the Ian Smith regime and some are still considered missing, as a result of the atrocities committed by the colonial government.

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