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'War vets are not Zanu-PF bootlickers'

by Staff reporter
07 Feb 2024 at 20:36hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), long perceived as a pawn of Zanu-PF, asserts that it is not a bootlicker of the ruling party and operates independently.

According to ZNLWVA chairperson, Andreas Ethan Mathibela, the organisation is non-partisan.

"We are not bootlickers, we are independent war veterans who participated in the armed struggle specifically for two reasons: political freedom and economic freedom for all. The majority of war veterans are nonpartisan and prefer not to be partisan members, except for a few individuals who choose to do so," he claimed.

Mathibela claimed that ZNLWVA is a private voluntary organisation that caters to the welfare of war veterans.

"It's a constitutional right to belong to a party, but so many war veterans do not subscribe to that because obviously, we have suffered the same fate since 1980. We have not benefited much. It doesn't matter if I belong to a ruling party, when it comes to the expectations of the generality of war veterans, we want to hold the government accountable to achieve our expectations. That's why we are a private organisation," said the chairperson.

Mathibela said the war veterans were not "ambitious for positions in partisan politics and government" but needed the government to address issues pertaining to their welfare.

"We have done our part, and we are now old as we are. Our only hope is to find peace of mind in titled pieces of land. It's very difficult now, and this is why you find us toy-toying in the streets supporting political parties. It's because we are poor," he remarked.

"It's not our love for politics, we are poor! Whether you are in CCC or Zanu-PF, we find ourselves becoming mercenaries, it's just for survival. I couldn't be an imbecile if I have $50,000 in my pocket to find me sitting under a tree listening to an idiot preaching about kushinga - Unoshingeyi? I wouldn't do that."

Mathibela said desperation is the reason that drove war veterans to join politics.

"Forgive those that after sacrificing their lives and limbs, they only come to reduce themselves to singing for a mere supper instead of perpetuating the economic revolution, that's what freedom is," he said, noting greed and selfishness had divided the war veterans.

He noted that war veterans were also subjected to segregation, citing an example in which he lost out on land when the then-chairman of the land committee, Dr Vincent Hungwe, refused to award him land on tribal grounds.

"When I was allocated 3,000 hectares in Masvingo…Then Hungwe, who was governor at that time, asked ‘anovakupi' (where do I come from), and from there I did not get that land until today," Mathibela alleged.

"Why are we fighting amongst each other yet there is so much for everyone for us? It is because of the greediness and selfishness of some of our leaders."

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