War Veterans Demand Improved Welfare

War Veterans Pressure Group



We are here to clarify events that unfolded last week which resulted in the arresting and detention of 9 Gallant sons and daughters of the liberation struggle and to clear the perception that Liberation War Veterans are selfish cry babies who are a drain on the fescus without any consideration for the well being of the generality of the people.


At the end of the war in 1980 the International Community poured in billions of dollars for the Rehabilitation and Settlement of the combatants whose life had been interrupted by the war at their prime age. These funds were meant to demobilise these youngsters and reintegrate them into the society. Unfortunately these funds did not trickle down to the intended beneficiaries and most of the funds were diverted into the pockets of a few who had assumed the levers of authority. The rest of Liberation cadres were dismissed back to their villages to fend for themselves and pick up the broken pieces of their lives on their own while the few leaders amassed avaricious wealth.

The generality of the people watched this in awe and assumed that all war veterans were selfishly compensating themselves from the National cake while they watched from the sidelines.
In the meantime, the economy was gradually taking a tailspin due to corruption and gross mismanagement. The Liberation war veterans were scattered
throughout the country and watching in disbelief while the fruits of their sacrifice were being trampled upon.

It was only in the Late 1990’s that a few of these veterans, under the leadership of the late CDE Chenjerai Hunzvi gathered their voices and demanded what genuinely belonged to them from the nationalists who were running the Government, resulting in the pay out of the $50k compensation and the drafting of statutory instruments 280 and 281 of 1997. This was an acknowledgement by the Government that indeed they had failed to reintegrate and rehabilitate the Liberation war Cadres.
What the Government then did not disclose was that these funds had been provided for by the International Community but had been siphoned by a few. Instead, the government used its monopoly on the media to propagate that the payment of these gratuities had brought the Economy onto its knees. The media went into a Frenzy and propagated this narrative in order to portray the war veterans as selfish and inconsiderate people who were bent on destroying the economy.

No mention is made that around the same time our army was deployed into the DRC without any budget for the venture and the effect this had on the fescus.
The media still carry this narrative each time war veterans ask for their dues from the government in order to hype the emotions of the people against the war veterans.

The government has continued to short change the war veterans and abandoned them into poverty and destitution. It is with this background that we took this matter to court to be granted what we are owed. The court ruled in our favour but the government has not honoured its obligation to us. Instead, the government has made various pronouncements to mislead the people into believing that it has grand plans for the welfare of war veterans yet on the ground we are getting a pittance of RTGS 16000. This grandstanding has to be exposed for what it really is. They should not continue to hoodwink the public by making such grand pronouncement on one hand while behind the scenes they are fighting hard to make sure they don’t honour their obligation to us as ruled by the courts.
School fees for our children were last paid over a year ago and we are not getting our medical benefits yet we are at the ages when we need these the most.
Instead, the government unashamedly announced the establishment of a VViP Hospital at a time public hospitals are collapsing due to neglect. As if that is not enough, they have committed to pay white farmers a whooping USD 3.5 Billion while they claim that they have no money to pay us. Who are these
VIP’s who think they deserve this special favour while the generality of the people suffer in silence.

The arrest of the 9 veterans

While we have been following up on all these issues quietly behind the scenes, an official at the Ministry of Finance had assured us that there was correspondence to the other relevant Ministries addressing our plight.

When we asked him to favour us with a copy of such correspondence, he asked us to collect the copy on Wednesday last week after he had sought clearance from the Minister of Finance. Instead when 4 of our colleagues had gone to collect this copy on the Wednesday.

The Police waylaid them and bundled them into a truck. 5 others who were waiting outside to see the contents of this letter were also bundled into
the truck and the 9 were taken to Harare Central police and detained there
until they were released at midnight the following day without charge.

They were kept in the cells at the Police Station despite their age and health conditions. There was no intervention from the Government or the war veterans in the association or the party league or board. Instead, Chris Mutsvangwa who has overstayed his tenure as the Chairman of the War veterans association is quoted as saying this was all stage-managed by MDC-A and what he call G40 Elements of ZANU PF.
We wonder how he made such astounding allegations and we condemn this in the strongest terms. We find this utterly disgusting coming from someone who has been quiet ever since he was imposed on us as our chairman. Maybe the burden of too many portfolios has overweighed him. We hope he will retract his statement otherwise he should have just shut up. We have nothing to do with political battles and the factional fights in the party. Our concern is our welfare. Which brings us to the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board.

Their Deafening silence in all this did not come to us as a surprise. They were appointed by the Minister contrary to the terms of the Act which clearly states that they should be nominated by us. Therefore their
allegiance is to the Minister and not to us. No wonder they did not bother to intervene. In fact they have not addressed us ever since they were appointed. We wonder whose interest they stand for because they have remained silent while our fees and medical aid have not been paid. We hear from the media that H.E The President wishes to meet us to hear our grievances. We hope this is not another grandstanding slideshow because we have submitted our grievances to his office many times. There is
nothing new to tell him unless of course he will be coming to tell us the answers to our grievances. He has acknowledged on numerous occasions that indeed government has abandoned us for the past 41 years and his new dispensation is working hard to redress this by pronouncing various projects for us.
We would want to inform him that what is trickling down to every war veteran is the RTGS 16000 and nothing more. It would go a long way if he would reign in his Minister of Defence and war veterans Oppah
Muchinguri Kashiri and make her withdraw her opposition to get our dues as determined by the court. This would be the least of our expectations.

Lastly but certainly not the least allow us to apologies on behalf of the generality of war veterans for the trauma inflicted on the people during past times of elections in our name. The truth of the matter is that a few elements within us were paid and used to terrify people in our name. We are above partisan politics as we fought to liberate every citizen regardless of their political inclination. The majority of those misguided elements were not liberation war veterans. We fought together with the people and our relationship was like fish and water. There is no way we could turn against our people.

Climate change and Covid-19: A double tragedy for rural women

A dry borehole in Chimanimani West Ward 20

The outbreak of Covid-19 further worsened the plight of women in rural areas, where the impact of climate change on the social and well-being of women was already taking its toll. Rural women who constitute 80 percent of the total national population of women who have been experiencing the impacts of climate change before the outbreak of the pandemic are suffering from a double blow as Covid-19 worsened their burden.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report, before the outbreak of the Covid-19, placed climate-related risks at the top of 10 global threats.

Speaking to TellZim News, Shamiso Mupara an environmentalist and the founder of Environmental Buddies Zimbabwe (EBZ) that operates in Marange, Manicaland province said in rural areas women are the main victims of climate change because it affects their natural resource base and it has been worsened by the Covid-19.


“Most Zimbabwean cultural norms burden rural women with the responsibility to provide food (relish), fuel, and water. Mostly they depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. Therefore these women are affected by climate change because it affects the natural resources, for example, water scarcity is caused by extremely hot temperatures and droughts. In this covid-19 era women are forced to travel long distances many times to fetch clean water,” she said. 

Covid-19 is intensifying the problems created by climate change on rural women whose food security systems and livelihood options are ruined.

Tatenda Mutasa from the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry said rural women depend on agriculture for food security and if agriculture is affected by climate change, people need to diversify their livelihoods by venturing into other activities to sustain their incomes which are however hindered by Covid-19 regulations.


If agriculture is affected by climate change, women need to diversify their livelihoods and venture into other forms of livelihood activities like clay pot making but others do not have the skills and those who have the skills do not have the capital to do such projects. Those who can do such activities especially in this Covid-19 era are not able to travel to urban and other areas to sell their products due to Covid-19-induced travel restrictions. 

When there is no enough income at the household level, there is a problem. This season agriculture was not bad in some rural areas but in some, they did not harvest well and this is a burden to those women in such areas. Also due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions they cannot travel to areas that harvested well to get food,” Mutasa said.

Mutasa added that women are the pillars of most households but if they are impacted negatively it means everything is distracted.

“Rural women need to make sure that there is enough food, clean water at the house and also make sure that children are safe and protected from the Covid-19 virus. The burden of water and firewood fetching owing to climate change that ruined the natural resources base forces, rural women, to walk for long distances which in most cases can expose them to the risk of infection,” he added.


Top 10 global risks by likelihood (before Covid-19)

Mutasa also said that rural women need more support from different stakeholders so they can sustain their livelihoods, especially during this Covid-19 period. 

“There is a serious burden among the rural women that need people to work together as rural women need support. Some women are business-minded and can run businesses but they do not have capital. They also need to be educated and make them aware of the changes in the climate system,” he said.

In some rural areas, people travel long distances to get water, one can travel 1,5 to 2 km to the nearest water source during the dry season.

Role of rural women in agriculture

Villagers of the Mabhiza area in ward 23 of Chivi South travel for more than 2km to go to Mutumbwi Dam where there is a borehole, as a result, people will not be able to provide enough safe water to their handwashing points popularly known as Chigubhu giya in the area which was recently launched as a way to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Engaging the donor community and the government to help the villagers by drilling boreholes as a way of addressing the water shortages would go a long way in alleviating some of the impact of climate change and the Covid 19 pandemic on rural women.

Child Marriages In Makaha Pushing Girls To The Edge

Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle, and low-income countries

The continuous occurrence of child marriages in Zimbabwe has left the girl child with no other choice but to succumb to living a life of pain and misery. Extreme poverty, lack of knowledge of both sexual reproductive health and educational services as well as backward cultural and religious beliefs being experienced in the country’s rural communities are pushing girls to the edge. Girls as young as 12 years are getting married in search of better lives.

Although some of the girls might be considered fortunate to be married off to mature and understanding men, others usually find themselves in the wrong hands. Despite living in good conditions the young girls’ lives and health are risked the moment they become pregnant.

Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle, and low-income countries. However, they are more likely to occur in a country’s marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities which push young girls into early marriages in search of a better living or as a way of escaping from the harsh reality they encounter. This is the case in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province’s remote areas.  For instance, in Makaha motherhood is often valued and marriage and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available for the young helpless girls.

Statistics on maternal mortality have shown how societies have failed young women, as many die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. According to the fifth annual State of the World’s Mothers report, published by the international charity Save the Children, 13 million births (a tenth of all births worldwide) each year are to women aged under 20, and more than 90% of these births are in developing countries. Obstructed labour was found to be common in teenage girls, resulting in an increased risk of infant death and of maternal death or disability.

Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls under the age of 18, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of global maternal deaths of women aged 15–49 years. Adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20–24 years. While complications during childbirth account for almost 25 per cent of newborn deaths, preterm delivery and low birth weight being some of the other reasons for deaths among infants born to adolescent mothers.

“Immature reproductive tract compromise the health of the pregnant adolescents. Early childbirths alienate girls from experiencing a normal childhood and sometimes they end up undergoing unsafe abortions. These abortions have overwhelming consequences such as cervical tearing, perforated uterus, haemorrhage, chronic pelvic infection, infertility, and death,” said a nurse from Mudzi’s local clinics during an interview.

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As one of the cultural factors that work against adolescent women child marriage weakens the girl child. Girls married under the age of 18 report being less able than older married women to discuss contraceptive use with their husbands. Thus they end up bearing children at an early age. For instance, in Makaha – one of Mudzi’s rural communities, where child marriage is prevalent, half of the population of all teenage girls give birth before turning 18 years.

Meanwhile, social consequences for unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, rejection or violence by partners, parents and peers. Also, adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often lead girls to drop out of school, although the government allowed pregnant girls to be allowed to go to school, this may jeopardize the girl child’s future education and employment opportunities as it can be difficult for young pregnant mothers to participate or concentrate with school while pregnant.

Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often leads girls to drop out of school

During the early part of the Millennium Development Goals era, prevention of adolescent pregnancy and related mortality and morbidity and prevention of HIV and HIV related mortality in adolescents and young people were not given sufficient attention due to competing priorities. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) worked with partners to advocate for attention to adolescents, to build the evidence and epidemiologic base for activities such as “WHO’s Guidelines for preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes in adolescents in developing countries”, to develop and test programme support tools, to build capacity, and to pilot initiatives in the small but growing number of countries that recognised the need to address adolescent health.

Although adolescents have moved to the centre of the global health and development agenda as a result of the transitioning of the world to the Sustainable Development Goals Era, gender inequities continue to greatly risk girls lives than boys and are affecting many aspects of young women’s lives including reduced opportunities for education, employment, and control over their own reproductive health.

Hence, the reproductive health of adolescent women depends on biological, social, cultural, and economic factors. And more educational programmes that provide education, family planning services, and pre-and postnatal care must be conducted to reduce morbidity and mortality among young women.

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WHO continues its work on advocacy, evidence generation, tool development and capacity building, the focus has shifted to strengthening country-level action. It is working closely with partners within and outside the United Nations system to contribute to the global effort to prevent children from becoming wives and mothers.

The World Health Organisation works to strengthen the evidence base for action and to support the application of the evidence through well-designed and well-executed national and sub-national programmes. For example, it’s a partnership with the UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women on a global programme to accelerate action to end child marriage and its collaboration with Family Planning 2020 ─ a global partnership in which it aimed to enable 120 million more women and girls to have access to contraceptives by 2020.

Nongovernmental organizations have been at forefront of efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancy in many countries through bold and innovative projects. There is now a small but growing number of successful government-led national programmes, for example, in Chile, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. These countries show what can be achieved with the application of good science combined with strong leadership, management, and perseverance. They challenge and inspire other countries to do what is doable and what urgently needs to be done.


Present Danger urges govt to plan for Coronavirus

Esther Vongai Zinyemba - Present danger #CoronaVirus Zim Campaign

The “Present Danger Campaign” under the hashtag #CoronavirusZimbabwe questioned the preparedness of Zimbabwe government to deal with the COVID-19 urging for boarders to be closed, that the COVID 19 be declared a state of emergency and for government to increase solution centres especially in rural areas.

In a press conference today, a Present Danger Campaigner, Esther Vongai Zimudzi stated that the Zimbabwe’s healthy system is already at the verge to collapse owing to economic instability hence there is need to declare Coronavirus a state of emergency and come together as a nation to come up with concrete plans to deal with a potential public health crisis.

She urged the Health Minister, Obadiah Moyo to approach parliament on amplifying measures that his ministry is taking to deal with the COVID-19 virus such as increasing solution centres which are currently six, that deal with screening, testing and isolating confirmed cases, particularly at every border post.

The Present Danger campaigner, also said the government should be alarmed by the cases of Coronavirus being recorded in South Africa (SA) putting in consideration that many Zimbabweans travel to and from SA, some illegally, hence the need to make sure that there are sufficient solution centres that are fully equipped to deal with COVID-19.

She said the government of Zimbabwe should desist from a culture of always being reactionary to crisis but should be pro-active in coming up with solutions that will safeguard the lives of Zimbabwean populace.

Zimudzi also said the decision to continue allowing foreign citizens into the country especially those coming from already well-known Coronavirus hit areas is lame as it led to the spread of the dangerous disease.

Coronavirus has been trending worldwide with over 3000 deaths reported worldwide out of over 95 000 infections, most countries have gone into crisis mode, imposing travel bans and enforced quarantine measures to contain the virus.

By Rutendo Bamu

Harare South youths get lifeline

Youths in Hopley

Harare South youths have turned to income generating projects following a series of successful life skills training conducted by Restless Development, Silveira House and Hopley Can Change Initiative (HCCI) in a bid to eradicate robbery, prostitution, early child marriages and domestic violence in the sprawling slum.

The youths were trained skills that range from carpentry, plumping, building to electronic engineering.

At a workshop held recently, Hopley residents applauded the works that were being done by community-based civic groups. “I am really elated with what these organisations brought to this community. I never thought I could have a certificate which can unlock the doors to better life since I left school at Form 2,” said Bryan Mhaka, a beneficiary of the training programme.

This is a second empowerment initiative given to Harare South youths after earlier this year they CERSSHAR held a skills training workshop for girls under the age of 25 who had failed to complete their education.

“Now that I have acquired a certificate it, I can now be an entrepreneur because I have knowledge. This training helped me in that I no longer have to spend time in gambling or in violence related incidence,” said Simbarashe Dikinya.

The programmes co-ordinator, Osman Ngwenya thanked the restless development for its unwavering support in training youths on income savings and lending (ISAL) project. This helped them to have basic idea of knowing what is income and expenditure.

“Some of these youths had left school because of a number of reasons but now they have equipped themselves with knowledge the now see the purpose of life. It is now their duty to use that knowledge into tangible things.”

Parents of the children who benefited said they appreciated the initiative done by the youths in calling NGOs to come and give their children lifeskills.


By Erasmus Mabhebhura

Council nurses plead incapacitation

Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union president Simbarashe James Tafirenyika

Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union president Simbarashe James Tafirenyika said his members were not on industrial action but were incapacitated and cannot afford transport fares among other basics to be at work.

Tafirenyika made the remarks at a press conference in the capital on Thursday.

“We want to make it clear to all residents of Harare and citizens of Zimbabwe that Harare City Council nurses are not on strike, but are severely incapacitated,” he said.

The council nurses’ action has further worsened the health delivery system in the country as they join doctors at public medical institutions, who have been not reporting for duty since September 3.

The nurses said they are worried by the deteriorating health delivery situation, but they cannot help it as their salaries have been eroded by hyperinflation.

“Nurses are not spared in the biting economy; they are not living in the vacuum, they have children to look after, they also need food to eat, currently utility bills are sitting on $3 000,” Tafirenyika said.

The nurses said their salaries which used to be equivalent to US$931 was now equivalent to US$46,5 using the prevailing interbank market rate.

Tafirenyika further said the nurses had engaged the city health director for discussions , but they were yet to reach an agreement.



Doctors scoff at their dismissal

Doctors scoff at their dismissal

Medical doctors fired yesterday for declaring incapacitation have scoffed at the Cabinet’s decision saying the State would soon have to negotiate with them as they need people to fill the vacancies that have been created.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said the firing was a non-event as they had endured months without salaries. Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the dismissal of 77 doctors at a Cabinet briefing in the capital last night.

ZHDA spokesperson Tapiwa Mungofa said: “We are now looking for jobs like any other unemployed citizens as we wait for the employer to come on their right senses and come back to us for negotiations, because they can’t create other doctors.”

Government fired the doctors after they absconded hearings by their employer, Health Services Board (HSB) on why they had not returned to work after the Labour Court ruled their actions illegal.

ZHDA secretary general Tawanda Zvakada said the dismissals were inconsequential.

“We are not moved by this firing as it does not capacitate us. We were already fired when they gave us worthless salaries,” Zvakada said.

HSB chairman Paulinus Sikosana was mum on what his institution would do next.

“On this one, I refer you to the secretary for Health, who superintends over service delivery,” Sikosana said.

The situation in public hospitals remains dire as the doctors action has entered day 64, with no solution in sight.

Analysts believe the government would sooner or later reverse its decision to fire doctors as it does not have anywhere to recruit from or the capacity to offer expatriates consumerate salaries.

Junior doctors started their industrial action on 3 September citing incapacitation and they have dismissed the government’s offer to increase their salaries insisting that they want their salaries to be pegged at the prevailing interbank rate.


By Rutendo Bamu