By Kudakwashe Vhenge
War veterans this morning took to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) main entrance on an unsanctioned protest demanding to have an audience with the central bank governor, John Mangudya.
They demanded an explanation on the unavailability of money in the banks.
The group further claimed that illegal forex exchange dealers are clandestinely receiving money from the RBZ.
When this news reporter arrived at the scene, there were efforts by an unidentified RBZ official to explain legal routes that they can take when they want to engage higher offices but they would have none of his explanations.
“Takamirira mari kubank kubva Mauro tanzi hakuna zvino tauya kuzoipihwa pano nekuti ndipanoiwana vakomana vemumastreets zvechikoronyera,” shouted one female protester.
One male who could only be identified as Mazhindu took a swipe at the meagre amount of money that they are getting as pension from the government which they are finding difficult to access.
Security details quickly intervened and quelled the demonstration without much resistance but utterances were still being echoed by the disgruntled group.
War veterans have been lamenting over their livelihoods as the amount of money they are earning is about ZWL$650, which is less than US$30 per month and cannot sustain them in this economy.
The economy is beset by rising inflation which economists estimate at over 500% and foreign currency shortages which have pushed up prices of basic commodities.
According to Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), the country has around 35,000 war veterans and the youngest war veteran or war collaborator should be around 55 to 60 years now.
War veterans have since petitioned government to have their pensions equated to the grade of a Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) warrant officer, so that whenever their salaries are reviewed, the war veterans’ pensions are also reviewed.
In 1997, war veterans were awarded a then staggering $50 000 pay off by the government.