Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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‘Land reform programme failed to benefit war vets’

‘Land reform programme failed to benefit war vets’

Written by Fungi Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:00

HARARE – Top ex-army generals working in the ministry of Defence yesterday 
tore into President Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme as having failed 
to benefit war veterans.

They also spoke against the abuse of war veterans, many of whom are 
routinely used by Zanu PF as political shock-troops.

Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence and Home 
Affairs chaired by MDC legislator, Paul Madzore, a team led by Defence 
ministry permanent secretary, Martin Rushwaya, said there is need to 
depoliticise the welfare of war veterans.

“This committee can help us by seeing to it that issues of war veterans are 
not politicised,” said retired brigadier general, Collin Moyo.

“If they are involved in politics, you will have a certain political party 
saying they belong to us.”

Moyo said the current dispensation has made it difficult for war veterans to 
appeal to some sectors of the Government of National Unity because of the 
political polarisation.

“When we want assistance from the unity government some people will say ‘why 
are you giving them money when they are doing this?”

“These are people who participated in the liberation war, don’t involve them 
in politics. The issue of war veterans should have nothing to do with 
politics,” Moyo said.

Director for war veterans, retired major general Richard Ruwondo told the 
committee war veterans have not received money for projects since 1997 when 
ex-combatants received a Z$50 000 windfall in gratuities.

Ruwondo said it is pointless for the government to give war veterans 20 
percent of land in districts without adequately resourcing them.

“From 1997 we have had several ministers (for Defence) and none of these has 
given us anything,” Ruwondo said.

“We are looking at one who can help us. In as far as land allocation is 
concerned, 20 percent should go to war veterans. If this thing of projects 
was functioning, then we could have allocations to provincial officers.”

Ruwondo, who is in charge of the welfare of war veterans, said government 
should expedite giving war veterans money for projects as that will stop the 
dependency syndrome that has characterised the land reform programme.

Under the War Veterans Act of 1997, government committed to provide for the 
establishment of schemes to assist war veterans and their dependants, and 
also to provide for the establishment of a fund to finance such help.

Currently the government, through the ministry of Defence, is only providing 
money for education and health.


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