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Zimbabwe Police Arrest, Detain War Veterans Demanding Increase in Pension Earnings

Some of the arrested war veterans. (Photo: VOA)
Some of the arrested war veterans. (Photo: VOA)

Zimbabwe police have arrested 40 former freedom fighters who were protesting against poor pension earnings in Harare.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the arrested war veterans are currently detained at Harare Central Police Station, Rhodesville Police Station and Highlands Police Station.

In a tweet, the ZLHR said the former freedom fighters “are yet to be advised of the charges they are facing by ZRP.”

The war vets, represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe, Blessing Nyamaropa and Tinashe Chinox of the ZLHR, say they are failing to make ends meet due to poor pensions earnings.

Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, could not give details about the arrest saying he has not yet received documents related to the matter.

One of the arrested war veterans, Hillah Mutasa, told VOA Zimbabwe that former freedom fighters are getting less than US$100 per month in pension earnings.

“We are struggling for survival while some people are in government and are former freedom fighters are living lavishly. We are suffering. We get less than US$100 per month,” said Mutasa, who lives in Mabvuku.

War veterans were given lump sums of $50,000 each in the 1990s after they protested against lack of pensions.

The late former President Robert Mugabe gave them the gratuities, which were used by some to buy an assortment of goodies.

The Zimbabwe dollar plunged following the parceling out of the gratuities.