WAR veterans should unite under the Zanu PF-led government and demand war medals for their participation in the liberation struggle, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda has said.
Matemadanda told NewsDay yesterday that the medals would not be extended to ex-combatants in the opposition camp, arguing this was why there was need for unity among war veterans and for them to support the current government.
“The government must award those medals, but at the same time, we must acknowledge that no government will award a war medal to a person in the opposition. That cannot happen. The war veterans must unite and support the government,” Matemadanda said.
The call comes at a time some ex-Zipra combatants have threatened to sever ties with the ZNLWVA to form their own welfare organisation.
Opposition Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa last week claimed that former Zipra cadres had cut ties with the Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA, accusing the latter of being engrossed in Zanu PF factional fights.
Matemadanda declined to comment over the alleged split and blamed disunity among ex-combatants for contributing to their lack of recognition by the government.
“The government has been awarding such medals at almost every Heroes’ Day and sometime Independence Day functions, but what has been lacking is the co-ordination to say who should get which medal and so forth,” he said.
“Maybe what we should do as war veterans is to get united first and then we identify who played what role and who deserves which medal. We should work on our database. The medals must be awarded, but we must get organised first as war veterans.”
Retired Brigadier-General Abel Mazinyane and Retired Colonel Buster Magwizi, in a statement on behalf of the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) High Command on Sunday, said the State must award war medals to all ex-combatants.
The former Zipra leaders said war veterans had nothing to show for their participation in the armed struggle, adding this had turned them “into strangers at Independence and Heroes’ Day functions”.
“They watch the spectacle of some people who did not bother to lift a finger for the liberation of the nation, including those who fought against our liberation struggle, wine and dine at the top table from afar,” Magwizi and Mazinyane said in a joint statement.
“They do not have anything to relate them to the liberation struggle. What we ask for is the (War Veterans) minister (Christopher Mutsvangwa) to fight for the recognition of these patriotic sons and daughters of Zimbabwe.”