By The Herald
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe’s history cannot be erased easily and war veterans should always be on guard to thwart counter-revolutionary machinations designed to destroy the country’s liberation legacy, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
He also said the new administration was alive to Government’s long-standing obligations to the war veterans, some of which had since been settled.
VP Chiwenga said Government had set up a special purpose vehicle to spearhead investments aimed at improving the welfare of war veterans.
He told thousands of war veterans during their inaugural interactive meeting with President Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday that the fight for freedom claimed the lives of many Zimbabweans.
With harmonised elections expected in the next few weeks, he said, war veterans should show opposition political parties that they were critical in the body politic by securing a resounding victory for zanu-pf.
“We thank you for coming war veterans,” he said.
“Basa riya ratanga! Zimbabwe haizofe yakadzokera kuzvimbwasungata zvakare. Zimbabwe inyika ine ropa royerera zuva nezuva remagamba atakasiya musango, atakasiya kunze kwenyika dzakaita sana Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. Kwese kwakanga kune mhuri yeZimbabwe including Tanzania. That history cannot just be rubbed easily like chalk on a chalkboard. It will remain there.”
VP Chiwenga, who also oversees the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, took time explain to the war veterans what Government was doing to improve their welfare.
“The ushering in of the new dispensation witnessed the war veterans administration reverting to the Ministry of Defence as a department,” he said. “This was designed to concentrate resources and improve on efficiency and effectiveness.”
He said war veterans were owed $10,5 million by Government for school fees for their children.
The arrears date back to 2016.
Said VP Chiwenga: “In this regard, the ministry is currently closely working with Treasury to ensure that all the arrears are paid in the shortest time that resources permit.
“However, I am pleased to announce that most of the school fees for all terms in 2017, and for the first term of 2018, have been settled and payment for the second term are in progress. Efforts are being made to clear the outstanding funeral bills amounting to $1,575 million and medical bills to the tune of $375, 466 through Treasury.”
He said the ministry had established a special purpose vehicle, Power Zimbabwe Private Limited, as part of efforts to generate income and complement the fiscus.
“The company is establishing joint ventures with both local and foreign investors with a view to raise income for the welfare, mainstreaming and empowerment of the war veterans,” VP Chiwenga said.
“Cluster models for agriculture and mining have been developed targeting the war veterans and the Ministry is currently scouting for investor partnerships to develop the clusters.”
On individual projects, he said, the ministry had introduced a chicken free runner project in collaboration with Metbank and National Organic for the War Veterans.
“The project has been implemented in Manicaland and is being rolled out to other provinces,” he said.
“Training and registration have commenced in Masvingo and it is envisaged that all the provinces will be covered by October 2018.”
VP Chiwenga urged war veterans who benefited from the land reform programme to register for Command Agriculture programmes.
“They should approach the ministry for assistance should they face any challenges in accessing the programme,” he said.
“May I also take this opportunity to encourage those with A2 farms to obtain 99-year leases which are bankable and do facilitate easy access to some agricultural support programmes.”
He thanked President Mnangagwa for spending the day with war veterans saying “your presence here demonstrates the respect that your office accords the war veterans fraternity given the common history that we all share and cherish.
“There is no doubt that the war veterans are a body politic critical to the survival of our liberation party, zanu-pf, and the nation at large,” VP Chiwenga said.
War veterans who attended yesterday’s meeting were drawn from the country’s 10 provinces.