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Mugabe, war vets meeting - live updates

by Simiso Mlevu and Costa Mano
07 Apr 2016 at 10:56hrs | Views
1607: The meeting has come to an end and that concludes our updates.

1604: Dube has finished his closing remarks.

1554: Dube has expressed gratitude to His Excellency for fulfilling his promise to meet veterans of the liberation struggle.

1553: Dube: "Cdes, I want to break some very good news to you. Our patron has heard your cries, he has directed that the little money that I have, be used to clear all the fees owed to various institutions starting next week."

1551: President Mugabe concludes his address and delegates break into song ‘Jongwe' as he moves to his seat. Minister of War Veterans Tshinga Dube is now giving vote of thanks.

1549: "We will try our best. All of us. When we say may we have this, finance, please provide us with money if it is there," says President Mugabe.

1547: "You are the brave ones. Thank God you are still alive. I am sorry we have not had this opportunity before, but we have tried to come up with a ministry that will look into the affairs of the members of the association."

1543: "During the war we wondered if our country will ever be ours again. (Ian) Smith declared that not in a 1000 years. But because of unity, here it is today, as ours."

1541: "We have met. We have interacted. I am glad I have seen faces I had not seen in a very long time. Some of you we never met because you were operating from elsewhere. But the most important thing is we fought the common enemy and won the struggle as one."

1539: He said as a country Zimbabwe owes a number of institutions. "We borrowed maize from Malawi during Bingu waMutharika's time. We could not pay that on time. We only managed to pay back last year."

1534: "People want to borrow, borrow but not pay. It is wrong. Let us use loans to generate money and pay back."

1533: President Mugabe also spoke strongly against non debt payment syndrome saying creditors are not happy with it.

1529: On his health: "Some of you have been speculating that President has gone to Singapore therefore he is not well. He will die soon. Noo. I am not dying," he said.

1525: On Sanctions, President Mugabe has urged War Veterans to work hard to circumvent challenges faced by the nation. "We have sanctions which have led to shortages. Shortages of money in the banks. Shortages of this and that. Let us work hard."

1518: Of Socialism: President Mugabe says as a government, they adopted part of socialist values but not all of them. We adopted some of the values. In some of those friendly socialist countries which assisted us, during the liberation struggle, they did not tolerate religion. But here we said no, let there be freedom of religion.

1516: President Mugabe also narrates the story of some young men who went to a neighbouring country to do Junior Certificate (of education) but when they came back, they would speak to elders in English. Elders were shocked that the young men did not know Shona anymore.

1514: "I respect elders. Even when I go to my chief in the rural area, Chief Zvimba, I humble myself. He also respects me as President but i give him due respect. But some of you have lost that respect," he says.

1512: "As War Veterans we need to have self respect." President Mugabe narrates to delegates his trip to Chief Tangwena's homestead with the late Edgar Tekere.

"They demanded we take off our shoes. We obliged. This is exactly how people should behave. Do not insult people because you have a position. No. We can not tolerate that."

1507: President Mugabe says liberation war heroes fought for the people. "You fought for everyone. Now that the country is back to its rightful owners, let us not segregate against them. Let us work together."

1503: He also urges War Veterans to approach the Ministry of Local Government for plots and he adds: "If you get that piece of land, it is for you to stay."

1501: President Mugabe has called on veterans of the liberation struggle to desist from marrying many women for assistance in the field adding that people should marry for love.

1459: No-one will get a a piece of land without approval by the President. "All the papers have to go through my office for approval."

1456: On the issue of land, President Mugabe says War Vets are saying they did not benefit from the land and advised them to make applications adding that he will approve their applications.

1454: "What exactly do you mean? You want this to be part of the constitution, why should we include that in the constitution? This land is yours. Please start mining," he said.

1453: President Mugabe seeks clarity on what War Veterans mean when they say they want to be given 20 percent. "Why do you want to be given 20 percent? Who is going to own the other 80 percent? The land is ours, why don't you start your own mines," he asks.

1449: "Coming to War Veterans, we decided to establish a ministry specifically to look into the affairs of the veterans of the liberation struggle. The ministry falls under Tshinga Dube.

1446: The Patron of war vets says when the GNU came to an end, the party mobilised and won resoundingly.

1443: President Mugabe says he endured the insults during Government of National Unity (GNU). "They would make fun of us at AU. They would tell me, that seat is not yours. Tsvangirai should be sitting there, but I persevered."

1440: "The whole idea was to work with Tsvangirai as President. They didn't know that our executive system of governance does not work like that. The winner forms his own government," he says.

14:38: "They did that and I lost. I got 43% and Tsvangirai got 47%. What served us as a party was the constitution which says for one to be a winner, they have to garner at least 50+ 1 percent,"

1437: "When Makoni, Dabengwa and Mujuru left Zanu PF, they were working with some members of the party mobilising people to vote against me.

1437: President Mugabe says a few years back, there were some disturbances in the party which resulted in the formation of Mavambo. The split led to the formation of the government of national unity which saw Zanu-PF joining hands with the MDCs to form a government.

1433: "This is your gathering veterans of the liberation struggle. We need to meet regularly. Like around this time next year again. We need to meet regularly so that we see how Comrades are and how best to help those who are not well," he says.

1430: "However some left. The likes of Dumiso dabengwa. They left to form Mavambo but when it failed, he said he is forming Zapu. Forming Zapu? What happened to the one which joined forces with Zanu?"

1428: The same thing applies to the army. We combined members of the two liberation forces, Zanla and Zipra to form Zimbabwe National Army which is led by Commander Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga. On top of Chiwenga there is Commander-in-Chief who is VaMugabe," President Mugabe says.

1426: "You know well that there were two parties, PF Zapu and Zanu. We came together to form Zanu-PF. We have two Vice Presidents who come from the two former liberation movements," says President Mugabe.

1418: President Mugabe says the idea of forming a War Veterans Association was motivated by the desire to provide for their well being and also for them to provide guidance to the party.

1416: Secretary for War Vets in the Politburo now takes over as Director of Ceremony and invites President Mugabe to make his address.

Liberation War Heritage:

1413: Zimbabwe is said to be a Christian nation but again the country provides for freedom of worship. There is a contradiction there, war vets have said.

1408: Veterans of the liberation struggle have also agreed that there is need to secure monuments as was done in Chimoio.
1405: Since Independence, no effort has been made to rename streets and schools. The fact that Zimbabwe was born out of the liberation struggle should conjure oneness.

Threats to the Party

1404: In conclusion, the War Vets say they are the solution to threats against Zanu-PF.

1403: The War Veterans are also demanding that Zanu-PF's Central Committee be the custodian of discipline in the party.

1400: "There is a difference between stake holders and stockholders because the former can leave anytime but never the later."

1357: War vets say they are stock holders of the party while others are stake holders. (edited)

1355: The War Vets also noted that dating back to the days of the liberation struggle, they were commissars. "We are militarised commissars"

1354: The West tried many machinations and failed. They tried using MDC, NGOs and now they have infiltrated the party and are destroying from within

1352: They say it is in that light that they have gathered to identify threats to the party

1350: War Vets say they are the permanent vanguards of the party as stipulated by the constitution.

1349: War Vets have also castigated members who accuse fellow comrades of being successionists through the media. They have also castigated those willy nilly dismissing fellow members from the party.

1347: They suggested that disciplinary cases should be handled by independent individuals.

1345: They have proposed that elected party members who didn't go to war need to go through ideological orientation in order to effectively represent the people.

1341: They also feel delays in the construction of the Herbert Chitepo Ideological college is not good for the party.

1339: War Vets also resolved that they need to meet with their patron every year and discuss various issues affecting them the country and the party.

1336: They also agreed that politics and the gun should co-exist quoting President Mugabe's statement during the liberation struggle that the gun is the guarantor.

1333: War vets have also proposed that party commissar should be a veteran of the liberation struggle. Saviour Kasukuwere is Zanu-PF's current Commissar.

1331: War vets also feel it is not proper to celebrate individuals who are members of an organ of the party and not President saying it creates divisions.

1330: They also said lack of a clear party ideology is the cause of factionalism in the party. They expressed their concern over suspensions in the party, saying it now appears it has become Zanu-PF's primary concern to hire and fire members.

1327: War vets also agreed that loyalty has evaded members of the party.

1326: Indigenization: War Vets agreed it is a progressive policy but highlighted that they have not benefitedfrom it. They appealed to the government to allocate them twenty percent shares on each and every indigenized company.

1223: On party ideology, the committee agreed that the party is trying with its Gutsaruzhinji programme but there are impediments like cash. They have appealed to the government to set aside a fund for veterans of the struggle.

1321: He says war vets agreed their ideology is derived from article 2: 11 of Zanu-PF constitution adding that Zanu-PF is a socialist party and must remain so. They also looked at whether songs and slogans being chanted encourage unity or foment divisions in the party. Machacha says the thematic committee also deliberated on the supremacy of politics over the gun.

1317: Machacha is now presenting on party ideology.

1316: Dube has finished his address.

1312: Government must also ensure that the veterans of the liberation are allocated 10 percent mining rights on mining concessions.

1308: War vets also want preferential appointments to posts such as ambassadors, chief executive officers, commissioners, permanent secretaries among other senior Government positions.

1307: "The ministry has registered Power Zimbabwe Private Limited as a Special Purposes Vehicle company to do business on behalf of the association"

1300: "Veterans of the liberation struggle should be exempted from paying land taxes on allocated land."

1259: They quote sections of the Constitution which reinforce the importance of liberation war heroes saying lack of an enabling Act of parliament has been a big hindrance. War Vets say they are entitled to 20 percent of all land acquired by government for recognition of their role in liberating this country. Some war vets have remained without land. They say the issue of 99 year leases must addressed and it must be automatic.

1256: War vets say their empowerment will ensure stability of the country arguing that their current state is not reflective of their historic contributions to the liberation of the country.

1255: Economic Empowerment and Preferential Treatment to Economic Opportunities thematic committee is now making its presentation led by Edward Dube.

1251: Still on welfare, war vets are saying some of them are losing properties to banks for failing to service loans. They are also appealing to the treasury to allocate budget to their ministry.

1250: Accommodation: War Vets are appealing to local authorities to allocate them stands so that they build decent houses.

1249: War vets are also saying schools have been chasing away their children because of non payment. They also want 20 percent quota on presidential scholarships. On pension, they are saying $260 is too little and they are pleading with their patron to increase the money.

1246: War vets say most of them need medical assistance especially hearing aids and also to be taken outside the country to been seen by specialists.

1245: Thematic Committees start presenting their deliberations.

1241: Sekeramayi has concluded his address. Delegates break into song, Kunenzira dzemasoja.

1240: "Your excellency, these are the war veterans, they came from all the 10 provinces to meet with you. We have our army commanders, commissioners from police and prisons. We have Director General from President's office and other senior people"

1238: "Your excellency, we also discussed how best to handle matters related to war heroes who perished during the struggle."

1238: Sekeramayi said party ideology and threats to the party were touched during thematic committees deliberations.

1237: "We are going to map the way forward and also see how best we can move the country forward in terms of development. We will also see how best to empower ourselves as War Veterans."

1236: Sekeramayi is now on the podium. He says President Mugabe is here to deliberate on their welfare.

1230: War vets minister Tshinga Dube is now addressing the meeting. he calls for unity amongst the war vets. He says President Mugabe listens to the war veteran's issues and that's the reason he has chosen to meet with them.

1223: The provincial associations as well as the leaders are being introduced.

1220: After a minute of silence has been observed.

1211: The National Anthem is now being played.

1205: President Mugabe is making his way to the main auditorium. He walks waving a clinched fist as delegates sing Vakuru musazokanganwa kuti Zimbabwe taitora. He is accompanied by Vice Presidents Mnangagwa and Mphoko as well as the four security ministers and service chiefs.

1204: The atmosphere is electric here and interviewed war vets have expressed their delight at the prospect of meeting their patron whom they have described as an unwavering leader.

1202: Delegates break into a revolutionary songs as Muchinguri-Kashiri and Chinomona join in dance.

1157: Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Simon Khaya Moyo, Mabel Chinomona and Webster Shamu are some of the dignitaries sitting on the VIP side.

1146: War Veterans Chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa and the association's Secretary General Victor Matematanda are also in attendance and sitting in the front row.

1144: Some of the war veterans present here include Dr Obert Mpofu, Cain Mathema, Oppah Muchinguri, and Eunice Sandi Moyo.

1136: President Mugabe has arrived and is in a briefing with security ministers and service chiefs.

1130: The City Sports Centre is packed to the brim with members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) who came in their numbers to meet their patron, President Mugabe, who is set to address them this afternoon.

1126: Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Min of State Security Kembo Mohadi has also arrived

1120: Service chiefs and other Government ministers have arrived here at City Sports Centre

1115: The City Sports Centre is packed to the brim with members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) who came in their numbers to meet their patron, President Mugabe, who is set to address them this afternoon.

Source - the herald