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War Veterans and the new dispensation

13 May 2018 at 12:15hrs | Views
The other day I watched a conference in which the president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa met the countries war veterans representatives from all the ten provinces in Zimbabwe. Just like the president, I listened as they all one by one articulated their grievances and demands. Let me hasten to say it was painful to watch and listen too. One could be forgiven that we were back in 1980 and the war has just finished and the war veterans were lining up for their pay.

I will first go through the demands put out before discussing my thoughts on the matter. As they spoke, one by one, the selfishness was apparent. They want twenty percent share of the command agricultural scheme allocated to them. They also demanded vehicles as they were 'sick and getting old' and therefore couldn't walk anymore. They demanded that Emmerson Mnangagwa increases their pensions from what it is now, upward of two hundred dollars to something more substantial. They also want mining concessions in prime areas that will not require heavy machinery to mine gold and other precious minerals. In Matebeleland they demanded hunting concessions and a stake in the conservancies so they can manage wildlife for profit. The majority of the demands were so ridiculous such that they made me wince. I will not dignify some of the nonsense said on this particular day.

Firstly, in my own capacity, I am a son of a war veteran and come to think of it; who is not. If you are from my generation you experienced the excesses of the war of liberation in one form or another. It is an expectation, definitely my expectation that thirty seven years after independence these war veterans should be self sufficient considering the largesse they received on numerous occasions since independence. These are the same guys that received large amounts of money from Mugabe, around fifty thousand dollars each if I remember correctly. In fact Mugabe had to print the Zimbabwe dollars to facilitate this resulting in the great crash of our currency and the economy in general. The same economy has never recovered since. These are the same guys that received money for perceived injuries in war measured both psychologically and physically under the war victims compensation fund. These are the same guys that were allocated prime land at the beginning of the land reform program.

When I watched them demanding more largesse from the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa I said to myself, what insolence. Here is a man travelling the width and breath of the globe trying to recover an economy that is in comatose ahead of a general election. An economy that crushed because the same war veterans made demands thinly laced with blackmail; that if you do not concede to our demands we will do a 'bhora Musango". Former president Mugabe conceded to these demands and look what happened to Zimbabwe. These war veterans have an insatiable appetite for freebies to a point that they have not used previous awards to better themselves. The selfishness is unprecedented.They refuse to see the bigger picture. Seventy percent of Zimbabwe is now youthful and they also expect the same government to fix the economy and provide jobs. If the war veterans, our fathers who fought in the war and made " sacrifices" are suddenly so inconsiderate, then remains to be seen what becomes of Zimbabwe.

Now, it is one thing for them to ask for reasonable increase in their pension and access to healthcare at concessionary rates, but complete madness for them to think that thirty seven years after independence, the State should continue to sabotage the economy on their behalf. This is not sustainable. I pray President Mnangagwa see through these ridiculous demands and dismisses them with the contempt they deserve.

Source - Lloyd Msipa
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