Disgruntled war vets threaten to boycott heroes day celebrations

The infighting within the ruling party yesterday took an interesting twist with the  war veterans  threatening  to boycott this year’s edition of the heroes day commemorations.

This came out during the National Executive Committee meeting held in Harare yesterday where members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation and War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) resolved not to attend the annual Heroes celebrations which they  say has now deviated from the founding principles upon which the liberation struggle was anchored on in pursuit of former colonial masters’ capitalist.

“We have decided not to attend this year’s heroes’ day celebrations because we feel there is nothing to celebrate as we have been left in the cold in terms of our welfare,” said Francis Nhandu, the Association’s Political Commissar.

He added that until their welfare issues are resolved, they are not going to be participating in any national event.

“We have become the laughing stock of this country, we are not recognized or listened to. We held an Indaba with our patron President Mugabe in April and he promised to see to it that we are catered for.

“But to this date nothing has been done and we are even in a direr situation as since that time, nothing has come our way. We have resorted to begging because we do not have any survival means. We feel we are being let down and we have withdrawn our participation in any national event,” said the visibly angry Political Commissar.

Another former freedom fighter who  identified herself as Nehanda Nyakasikana said she was disappointed by the lack of response from top party officials in addressing the challenges being faced by the wars vets.

“Too often we are being used to further the party’s interests and when we ask for funds to help us survive, the response is lukewarm.

“There comes a time when we have to say is enough is enough and we feel the time is now, we deserve to be treated better,” she said while adding that Zimbabwe’s war vets are the poorest in the world as they do not get any financial support from the parent party.

Agnes Rusike, who is famed as the first female to lead the land grabs in 2000, said war vets are no longer respected and they are being victimized by senior party officials.

“We are being victimized by senior party officials who are in the habit of illegally taking our land, many of our Comrades had their farms raided by these rogue politicians.

“We are left wondering if the President is aware of this and if he is, does it mean he brainwashed us during the Indaba we held with him where he promised to take care of us,” questioned Rusike.

“There is a conspiracy among top government officials to sabotage war vets as since our indaba with the president, there has been a blitzkrieg  seizure  of farms belonging to war vets. Our patron, President Mugabe ordered all ministers to avail funds that will be channeled towards the upkeep of war vets but nothing has been forthcoming. So we have taken upon ourselves that we will not be involved in any national event, let them do it on their own.

“What’s there to celebrate when our children are not going to school, when we sleep on empty stomachs,” said  war vets Harare Vice Chairperson Hoyani Bhila.