Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Government is working on plans to increase monthly allowances for war veterans from about $200 per month to $500 as it also emerged that it has already reviewed the funeral cover for the former freedom fighters from $800 to $2 000.
Addressing a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association Bulawayo Province at the ex-fighters offices in Entumbane yesterday, the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said what the war veterans were earning as pension was too little and his ministry has already presented a proposal so that it is increased to $500 per month.
“The pension you are getting is too little. We are advocating that it be increased to at least $500 which will enable you to get a little more than you are getting now. We know the $500 is also not enough but it will go a long way as some of you are getting just over $100 each month,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said the Government has already agreed to review funeral cover for war veterans.
“It has been agreed that the funds for the assistance for burial of a war veteran be increased from $800 to $2 000 so that burial is done in a proper manner. This has already been agreed upon and will start immediately,” he said.
The minister, however, said for the smooth running of business in the provinces, there should be decentralisation of finances.
“It is a wise idea to have funds in the provincial coffers for smooth flow of activities. When everything is done in Harare there can be delays especially when we are dealing with death as death does not give a warning, it comes suddenly and people need the money immediately,” said Rtd Col Dube.
He said all the people who were involved in the liberation struggle must come together and form one association.
“Before, we had the different categories that were called collaborators, restrictees and ex-detainees, widows and so on but that has changed as we will all be recognised as Veterans of the Liberation Struggle so that we encompass everyone under that name despite the role you played during the war.
Some people who were refugees and cooks are being looked down upon yet they played a pivotal role in the war. We have some who never trained due to the limitation of resources but they had roles that they played and they must be respected,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said renegade groups of war veterans were free to form their own associations and stop causing problems within Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Associatio (ZNLWVA).
“When people defect from a grouping they should look for a new name not to use our name and cause problems. Joice Mujuru is no longer with Zanu-PF and is now going under a new name and not Zanu-PF. These defectors must find a new name for themselves and we know they are being sponsored by other forces,” he said.
He said war veterans should show leadership to youths. War veterans at the meeting said they were being overlooked in programmes such as allocation of stands which are doled out to mostly the youths. They also told Rtd Col Dube that they wanted a quota for their children who qualify to train as teachers at institutions such as the United College of Education and central hospitals like Mpilo for those who want to go for nursing.