Defiant war veterans have rescheduled their meeting to March 23, setting themselves on a collision course with both Zanu PF and the law enforcement agents.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The veterans of the liberation struggle were last week supposed to hold their annual meeting in Harare, but police refused to clear their meeting.
The War Veterans ministry has also distanced itself from the meeting and instead come out with its own date for another indaba that is going to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe.
War veterans were accused of trying to convene a meeting that was allegedly going to endorse a coalition of opposition parties that will face Zanu PF next year.
However, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told NewsDay yesterday that they had rescheduled the meeting to March 23, vowing to fight for clearance of the event.
“We have notified the police as is required by the law and the police have totally not given us the nod for the meeting. This denial has left us with no option, but to take the matter to court if they continue denying us. War veterans should anticipate coming to a meeting in Harare that is possibly set for March 23,” Mahiya said.
“Although we have problems with the police and the (War Veterans) ministry, particularly the permanent secretary, Walter Tapfumaneyi, we are going ahead with preparations. Tapfumaneyi is trying to use war veterans and blindfold them ahead of next year’s elections. He is trying to treat cancer with snake oil, but as war veterans, we speak the truth and follow the correct path on the agreed route of the revolution. War veterans are the best interpreters of the revolution principles.”
Last year, police teargassed war veterans after they tried to convene a similar meeting in Harare.
Mahiya said refusing them the opportunity to meet was tantamount to denying them the freedom of expression and association that must be enjoyed by every citizen.
He said war veterans had issues with accessing medication, schools fees for their children and land, among others.
Mahiya said war veterans’ issues were not discussed at the Lancaster House conference and 37 years after independence their concerns were still being treated as peripheral.
“It is shameful to deny people who committed their lives to gain political power to meet and discuss issues pertaining to and from the liberation struggle. The liberation struggle never accommodated corruption because it is corrosive,” he said, adding they would not succumb because they had the backing of ordinary people.