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War veterans vetting exercise stalls, ZPRA veterans upset

The Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) Veterans Association is concerned over the lack of progress in the war veterans vetting process saying no explanation has been proffered by the government.

In May 2021, the association made a call to all its cadres, both combatant and non-combatants to come forward in preparation for an impending national vetting exercise.

But the cadres say there is a lack of progress happening on that front, disadvantaging veterans who are still waiting for their benefits while others even returned from the diaspora for the vetting exercise.

ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson, Buster Magwizi, told CITE that authorities had not been forthcoming on why the process had stalled.  

“You will appreciate that ZPRA veterans have been engaged in government with issues of vetting, properties and of course the welfare in general of veterans all over Zimbabwe. First of all the vetting seems to have just stopped, there’s no good reason that is being proffered,” he said.

“There is no one who is telling us what is happening and the last time when we went out, we went out on an exercise to do the preparations countrywide.”

Magwizi said the veterans were still waiting for the government to come up and conduct the vetting exercise.

“People are dying in the process, including those that have been vetted and quite a number have even passed on. We are surprised as to what has stalled the processes. This is obviously  causing despondency amongst a lot of comrades countrywide,” he said

“It is also causing a lot of problems for the families because of the expectations of movement and other things. Some other people moved from the Diaspora coming back home, hoping they would be vetted soon and now until this time nothing is coming through. Can an explanation be proffered from the state.”

ZPRA combatants have often accused the government of sidelining them during the war veterans vetting processes.

Contacted for comment, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Oppah Muchinguri- Kashiri acknowledged that the non-availability of funds was the impediment.

“We are very committed, funds permitting but I appreciate we are running late. People out there must also appreciate and not be critical all the time,” she said in an interview with CITE.

“As we speak we are more than ready, everything is in place. We should have launched two months ago but funds are not available. We are equally frustrated but everything is in place such as teams and papers.”

The defence minister stated her ministry working with the Veterans of the Liberations Struggle Board had shared this information to war veterans affiliations and associations including Parliament.

“On our register, we have about 1 700 who have not been vetted. We don’t hide information but we are more than ready to start. We need to appreciate this process was started by the Second Republic due to the interest of our president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) who is concerned about war veterans,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

Muchinguri-Kashiri added that she had even taken it upon herself to oversee the process as she too was also “under pressure from the president.”  

“Funds are already included in the new (2022 national) budget, so when the budget is approved by parliament then you will see resources being allocated,” she said, noting that this would happen after administrative issues related to budgetary matters were approved.

The war veterans minister also noted that the Treasury had released US$200 000 to the ministry, which went towards the “administering the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act and the board, which now had an office and were holding meetings. We now have structures and proper infrastructure.”

As a point of departure, Muchinguri-Kashiri indicated she was dedicated to serving cadres and that she “loves war veterans more than politicians” and noted that within a year, there had been changes that empowered them.

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