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War veterans demand 20% quota system

19 Mar 2020 at 17:49hrs | Views
WAR VETERANS want a 20 percent quota system in Government institutions and Parliament, while demanding for improved medical care and pensions allocation for ex-combatants.

The former freedom fighters want Government to also make a clear demarcation in the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill to separate those who participated in the armed struggle, from non-combatants and war collaborators.

This is contained in the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill that Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri   tabled before the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The new Bill is set to replace the War Veterans Act [Chapter 11:15] and the Ex Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act [Chapter 17:10] in line with the country's new constitution.

Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services Parliamentary Committee chairperson, Retired Brigadier General Levi Mayihlome, in his second reading of the Bill, said former freedom fighters are concerned over issues of their welfare that Government has not addressed 40 years after independence.

He said it was the hope of the country's liberators that the new Bill will compel Government to urgent address the issues.

Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome said former freedom fighters proposed that Government should introduce a quota system to accommodate them.

"The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle called for the Bill to have a clause which clearly states that there should be a 20 percent quota for War Veterans in Parliament and all government institutions, as is the case with women and youth. According to proponents of this idea, representation in Parliament and other state institutions by Veterans of the Liberation Struggle themselves will ensure that their welfare concerns are fully addressed while at the same time safeguarding revolutionary values and interests," said Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome.

He said the former liberation fighters want Government to come up with a medical scheme and education fund for their families to be admitted in both public and private institutions.

At the moment children of former freedom fighters are only admitted in public schools that are relatively cheaper than private institutions.

Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome said the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) do not want the Bill to refer to those who did not participate in combat as war veterans.

"While acknowledging the definition of' ‘War Veteran' to mean a liberation war fighter with a sound military and or security background, ZNLWVA queried the attempt by the new Bill to accommodate cadres with non-military expertise under the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle banner. They argued that recognising all the four categories under one umbrella name would dilute the true meaning of ‘War Veteran' thereby depriving war veterans of the benefits associated with internationally recognised military veterans," said Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome.

He said the new Bill should also include children of war veterans that were sired during the protracted liberation struggle.

Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome said war veterans also want Government to protect their families against eviction from farms.

The committee's chairperson said his committee recognised the contributions made by the freedom fighters and believe their demands are justified and require attention.

"The case of subsidised transport, education, health care, housing, funeral grants and other relevant benefits for Veterans of the Liberation Struggle is not peculiar to Zimbabwe; rather, it is in line with international best practices. Thus, the Committee urges the responsible authority (Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs) to consider the people's views and incorporate those issues that are critical in as far as the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle is concerned," said Rtd Brig-Gen Mayihlome.

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Source - the herald
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