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Zimbabwe Defence Minister Says War Veterans to Receive Annual Bonuses in Foreign Currency

Zimbabwe Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
Zimbabwe Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

Zimbabwe’s Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, says Treasury has agreed to pay annual bonuses of former freedom fighters of the 1960s in foreign currency.

In an address monitored by VOA Zimbabwe Service from Harare, Muchinguri-Kashiri told top military officials today attending a strategic planning workshop today that the country has an obligation to look after war veterans.

She said, “As we plan for 2022 and beyond it is critical for us not to leave them behind. They are an important constituency of our society by virtue of their sacrifices towards liberating mother Zimbabwe from the jaws of colonial bondage. The need for these cadres to live descent lives is an absolute imperative especially now when the majority of them are in their twilight of their lives.”

Muchinguri-Kashiri said the war veterans’empowerment programs need to be prioritized.

“In this regard it is noteworthy that the ministry has today managed to institute a veterans of the liberation struggle board which was launched by His Excellency the president together with an empowerment vehicle in October 2021. The launch led to the formation of the veterans of the liberation struggle holding company which will see our veterans becoming involved in various sectors of the economy with a view to freeing the fiscus from catering for their welfare.

“Measures are also being taken to further improve the benefits of the war veterans. Already a commitment has been made by Treasury to pay veterans a bonus this year and part of which is likely going to be paid in foreign currency.”

War veterans were arrested recently in Harare protesting against their pension schemes amounting to less that US$100 per month.

They demanded an increase in their pension payout saying they are living from hand to mouth while some Zanu PF and government officials have massive wealth.

The war veterans protested in the 1980s against lack of benefits resulting in the government giving them $50,000 each.

VOA Correspondent Mlondolozi Ndlovu contributed to this article