War veterans want stand-alone ministry

War veterans have appealed for a stand-alone ministry that would solely dedicate efforts at addressing issues affecting the former fighters who participated in the liberation struggle.

Currently, the war veterans fall under the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs headed by Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.

This request was made by the War Veterans League to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services who presented the motion before Parliament Tuesday.

The War Veterans League was launched last year by Zanu-PF in line with the ruling party’s 2019 conference resolutions that was to co-exist alongside other party wings like the main wing, youth and women’s league.

“The War Veterans League further posited that veterans of the liberation struggle were appealing for the establishment of a stand-alone Ministry that would administer all the programmes and issues affecting veterans of the liberation struggle.”

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services Committee, Retired Brigadier-General Levi Mayihlome.

Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome said the War Veterans League maintained that the proposed Ministry would have to dedicate its effort and resources towards addressing the concerns of the war veterans.

“They reiterated that a stand-alone Ministry would effectively address the specific challenges faced by veterans of the liberation struggle,” he said.

The war veterans also requested to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services that they be honoured through the provision of medals, similar to ones given to chiefs.

“The Committee was informed that it was pertinent for veterans of the liberation to be recognised and honoured in the same manner as Chiefs through the provision of medals. It was also submitted that veterans of the liberation struggle should be accorded due respect at all important national gatherings and there was need for the (Veterans of the Liberation Struggle) Act to have a clause on that,” Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome said.

Bubi MP Sonny Key Mguni noted that the war veterans’ request to have medals and identification cards was valid.

“Others did not even get these cards, some of the cards were lost and some of them are now not visible. There is no office that was set aside to replace these cards or reissue them. They were only given these cards during the vetting process which was done long back. They wish there could be an office set aside to issue these cards,” he said.

“On medals, they wish, as war veterans, they could all get these medals. The only members that got these medals were the ones who had joined the army. The ones who did not join the army did not get those cards. The War Veterans Association is pushing that they could get these medals, all of them. At this moment their numbers are minus 35 000 and they wish that these medals could be obtained and the cards also.”

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