President, ex-fighters in crunch meeting
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