8 June 2018

Zimbabwe: MDC Alliance Govt to Honour Zim Soldiers Who Fought in DRC and Moz

The MDC Alliance says it will draft in Zimbabwean soldiers once deployed in Mozambican and DRC wars among the country's bona fide war veterans who would be entitled to monthly allowances for their services.

This came out during the Alliance's manifesto launch Thursday ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.

"The MDC Alliance will protect the rights and interests of all 1960's to 1970's liberation war (i.e war veteran protect the rights of vets) ... war veterans include detainees and war collaborators," reads part of the MDC document.

"Our concept of war veterans also includes soldiers who participated in the DRC civil war. Mozambican civil war."

In a side interview with NewZimbabwe.com shortly after the launch, Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube said citizens who would have sacrificed to defend their countries' interests will be granted their due respect.

"The point is that the soldiers who are citizens of this country were sent to war in the DRC; some didn't come back, others came back," said Ncube.

"We need to recognise them as veterans who would have fought in wars that Zimbabwe has been involved in.

"That is a normal thing the world over and there is no reason why we cannot do it."

Apart from those who delivered the country's independence, Zimbabwean soldiers were also deployed in neighbouring Mozambique to guard the Beira Corridor, a key installation which had economic implications for the country.

Troops were also deployed in the DRC at the turn of the century to prop up Laurent Kabila's government which was under siege from rebels.

1999 gratuities

The Zanu PF led government was in 1999 pressured to run the minting machine to produce unbudgeted $50,000 gratuities for each of the country's surviving fighters of liberation, a populist move that saw a once thriving economy take a nose dive with the ripple effects still being felt up to date.

Under the MDC Alliance government, Ncube said, they will not be tempted to disburse such huge amounts for war veterans but will place them on constant monthly pay-outs for their upkeep.

"It is not a once-off payment which basically bankrupts a country. What is important is that on a month by month basis they are recognised as being veterans," he said.

"Firstly, for psychological services. It's not an easy thing to be involved in a war. You need to be continuously accorded the treatment that psychologically, you deserve.

"Then, of course, you need to have a liveable pension that you need to look after yourself and your family."

In an earlier keynote address during the manifesto launch, alliance leader Nelson Chamisa said his envisaged administration will strive to respect the country's liberation struggle.

"We are not going to be vetting war veterans for 38 years," he said.

"They must be vetted within three months, acknowledged, be given their support and comfort just like other war veterans in Vietnam, in the United States of America and such countries."

He pledged a museum to preserve the country's liberation history.


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