14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Polls - War Vets Promised $2 000 a Month

IN a move which further shows the military will be a major factor in next year's make-or-break general elections, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief General Constantine Chiwenga has joined the Zanu PF campaign trail, promising war veterans -- the party's foot soldiers during polls -- US$2 000 a month between January and September next year.

Informed sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week Chiwenga said the money would come from the Marange diamond fields and investment in the Lupane gas project which government is moving to embark on with Russian investors.

Sources said Chiwenga announced this while addressing more than 800 war veterans at One Brigade Headquarters in Bulawayo three weeks ago.

ZDF public relations officer Major Matarirano yesterday confirmed the army commander has been meeting with war veterans but could not disclose the agenda.

War veterans leaders interviewed by the Independent say Chiwenga promised them huge allowances, which were far more than what an average local worker earns, if they campaigned for Mugabe and Zanu PF.

"He told us that we have 10% shares in Marange diamond fields. We will also be getting something from Lupane because the government is partnering Russians to exploit methane gas so there won't be any problem in paying us," a war veteran leader said.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general Shadreck Makombe confirmed holding meetings with government over their demands, saying there was nothing sinister since they never received full compensation in the first disbursement in 1997.

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