By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Masvingo – Liberation war veterans are demanding pensions as high as the salary of an army general.
Speaking at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security public hearing in Masvingo yesterday said the war veterans said they deserved reasonable payouts from the government for their participation in the wars that gained Zimbabwe it’s independence.
They went onto add that they were not satisfied with the paltry pensions they are currently receiving.
At a public hearing on the proposed Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill, Tendeukai Isaac Chinooneka of ZILWACO said their pensions barely cover their basic needs.
“The allowances we are getting are too little and with this economy will not be able to survive. We fought for this country and why is this not being recognised, this country did not just come on a silver platter. The government should give us a salary that is equal to that of the army general; we are as good as them too.
Why are we War veterans still being given low allowances? A lot of people in the government get a lot of allowances and why not us. Something needs to be done to rectify this,” he said.
Another member of ZILWACO also voiced the same concerns.
“The pension fund we are getting is too little as well and it must be put at par with a salary. It should not be just a salary but should be at scale with that of the brigadier general of the army. We deserve it too and surviving relatives of those who deceased during the struggle must get allowances too. We should be exempted from paying duty in whatever we bring into the country,” added another war vet.
Jabulani Maziiwa who participated in the liberation struggle said that there should be compensation for everyone who went to war as a lot of them are still suffering from the trauma.
Other war veterans said that they also want to get free medication from private hospitals as they cannot afford the health services.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security public, Levi Mayihlome said they are gathering as many views as they can so that they get the various views of what those affected before tabling them to members of parliament.
“The War Vets are concerned about the benefits that they are entitled to. They believe that very little attention is being paid to them as the bill does not concentrate on the benefits of the struggle,” he said.