WAR veterans are prepared to name and shame all corrupt lands officers who are conniving with some individuals to repossess land and parcel it out to their cronies.
In an interview with The Manica Post on the sidelines of the commissioning of the Marovanyati Dam in Buhera last week, Zanu PF national secretary for Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees, Cde Douglas Mahiya said it is sad to note that some corrupt lands officers are being paid to grab land from war veterans.
“The land issue has become a thorn in the flesh of many war veterans.
‘‘We have a number of our members who have lost land to these unscrupulous individuals. Some lands officers from the Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Ministry are conniving with individuals — especially in areas near urban settlements — to repossess land from war veterans and parcelling it out to their cronies.
“We cannot allow this greediness to continue. People should not take advantage of our membership’s social standing to abuse them. We call for the prosecution of all those involved in these shady deals. We have been quiet for a long time, but the time has come to name and shame these corrupt individuals.
“Section 84 of the Constitution is very clear on the issue of war veterans and they should be accorded the respect they deserve.
‘‘The values of the liberation struggle are also part of the Constitution’s preamble and this shows how important war veterans are to this country,” said Cde Mahiya.
He hailed the recognition of war veterans as a third wing of the ruling Zanu PF.
“Before the coming in of the new dispensation, our crucial role was not being recognised as the backbone of the party. Some fly-by-night individuals were trampling on our rights and at times even the youths would speak ill about us. However, last year’s Zanu PF Annual People’s Conference in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East, passed a resolution which recognises us as the third wing of the party. This allows us to actively participate in all party activities.
“We now have direct access to the Presidium and our welfare issues can now be deliberated at the highest level in the party,” he said.
Cde Mahiya also called on Treasury to timeously release school fees funds for war veterans’ children.
“We are having challenges in getting our children’s fees on time. At times the money is not paid to beneficiaries for almost two terms or semesters. Our children are now being stigmatised in their schools due to these late payments.
“We will continue engaging Treasury to ensure the issue is addressed,” he said.
Parliament recently passed the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill, which seeks to provide rights and benefits to veterans of the liberation struggle and their dependants.
It also seeks to provide for the establishment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund and constitute a Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board.
The Bill will repeal the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act.
“We hope that our members will benefit immensely from the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund.
‘‘We want them to be owners of the means of production through the setting up of industries, not the usual small projects. War veterans should also have a say in the country’s economic affairs and we hail everyone who supported this important piece of legislation,” said Cde Mahiya.