Pres­i­dent, ex-fight­ers in crunch meet­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe Harare Bu­reau

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe will tomorrow hold a high pro­file meet­ing with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle to hear their con­cerns and any is­sues re­lated to their wel­fare and the rev­o­lu­tion­ary party, Zanu-PF.

The stake­hold­ers in­clude mem­bers of the Zim­babwe Lib­er­a­tion War Col­lab­o­ra­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (Zili­waco), Zim­babwe Ex-Po­lit­i­cal Pris­on­ers, De­tainees and Restrictees’ As­so­ci­a­tion (ZEPPDRA) and wi­d­ows of all na­tional he­roes.

Cadres who were trained in Mozam­bique, Zam­bia and other free­dom camps but did not get to the war front be­fore in­de­pen­dence, will also be part of the meet­ing.

The meet­ing is the first of its kind and lead­ers of the in­vited groups yes­ter­day were op­ti­mistic about its out­come.

Wel­fare Ser­vices for War Vet­er­ans, War Col­lab­o­ra­tors, For­mer Po­lit­i­cal De­tainees and Restrictees Min­is­ter Re­tired Colonel Tshinga Dube con­firmed the meet­ing yes­ter­day.

He said the ind­aba was at the re­quest of the said groups some time back.

It comes barely two days after Rtd Col Dube held a meet­ing with war vet­er­ans who reaf­firmed their sup­port for Zanu-PF.

In an in­ter­view with our Harare Bu­reau yes­ter­day, Rtd Col Dube said: “Yes, we have or­gan­ised that meet­ing. They will say their prob­lems con­cern­ing their wel­fare. Par­tic­i­pants are com­ing from all the coun­try’s 10 prov­inces. They re­quested to meet His Ex­cel­lency the Pres­i­dent.”

Zili­waco chair­man Cde Pupu­rai Tog­a­repi said they would at­tend the meet­ing.

“Yes, we are at­tend­ing that meet­ing but the agenda is with the Min­istry of Wel­fare Ser­vices for War Vet­er­ans, War Col­lab­o­ra­tors, For­mer Po­lit­i­cal De­tainees and Restrictees. To us, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to meet with our leader and chart our wel­fare is­sues.”

ZEPPDRA chair­per­son Cde Vic­tor Kuretu said the meet­ing was im­por­tant as it was the first of its kind since in­de­pen­dence.

He said ex­pec­ta­tions from the meet­ing were high.

“We have a big meet­ing on Satur­day. It is the first of its kind since in­de­pen­dence. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has de­cided to meet us as his for­mer col­leagues and he was a de­tainee, po­lit­i­cal prisoner and com­man­der in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle and he is still the State Pres­i­dent,” he said.

“We take this one to be a very im­por­tant meet­ing and we will give him our con­cerns.”

On is­sues they want to raise with the Pres­i­dent, Cde Kuretu said:

“Firstly, it was our con­cern after in­de­pen­dence where we should be as ex-de­tainees. As po­lit­i­cal an­i­mals, we were sup­posed to be part and par­cel of the party struc­tures.

“There is also the is­sue of our wel­fare. We have over 250 pupils who did not sit for their ex­am­i­na­tions this year be­cause of non-pay­ment of their school fees. Health­wise, most of us are now old and we need to be catered for.”

In April this year, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe met war vet­er­ans to hear their con­cerns where sev­eral is­sues were raised.

On top of the list of their con­cerns was the way the Zanu-PF com­mis­sariat was be­ing run.

The war vet­er­ans called for its com­plete over­haul say­ing it should be led by a per­son with lib­er­a­tion war cre­den­tials.

At the same meet­ing, the free­dom fight­ers said they were the bedrock of the party as stip­u­lated in the Zanu-PF con­sti­tu­tion. They re­quested that a war vet­er­ans wing should be added to the rev­o­lu­tion­ary party’s or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture.

Dr Ig­natius Chombo

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