HARARE – Veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war have made fresh demands including honorary degrees, diplomatic passports and automatic promotions in state institutions.
Douglas Mahiya, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association told a meeting of Mashonaland East war veterans at the weekend that the constitution imposed a duty on the country to “honour and respect war veterans.”
This respect, he argued, can only be earned when war veterans are given preferential treatment – from funeral assistance, tax exemptions, free hospital treatment through to reserved seats in Parliament.
The war veterans are also demanding honorary degrees.
“We succeeded in educating people about the revolution; that land belongs to them and we got independence,” Mahiya said, according to New Zimbabwe.com.
“My thinking now is the government must award us degrees because we went to war and learnt principles of the revolution and we made it.”
Mahiya said finance minister Mthuli Ncube should announce tax exemptions for companies that capacitate a farm of a war veteran with farming equipment and inputs, or pay for war veterans’ medical bills.
“We don’t lose anything as a nation but we would have complied with our Constitution which says we will honour and respect our war veterans,” Mahiya added.
War veterans were given once off gratuities in 1997 and a monthly allowance which is partly blamed for the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar which has never recovered.
Here are some of the demands made by war veterans in recent years:
Tax rebates for their suppliers
Medical and dental care
Clear categorisation of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle members
Tax and Duty exemption
Quota system in Parliament and all government institutions and agencies
Automatic promotion of serving veterans of the liberation struggle in State institutions
Bravery medals and new identity cards
Compensation of war victims and veterans of the liberation struggle living with disabilities-zimlive