Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the annual conference of the ruling ZANU-PF party in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe. On December 18, Zimbabwean war veterans besieged Mnangagwa’s Munhumutapa Office, demanding that their monthly stipends be increased. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa) (lmm)

HARARE ‑ Zimbabwean war veterans on Tuesday besieged President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Munhumutapa Office demanding that their monthly stipends be increased and that their remaining gratuities be settled.

The grouping of about 20, calling itself War Veterans Welfare Committee are fronted by Fredrick Ngombe, presented a 10-page petition to Mnangagwa, demanding that their livelihoods be improved.

However, they failed to meet Mnangagwa as he was in a cabinet meeting.

“We would have wanted to meet the president, but we have been advised he is in a cabinet meeting. Officials have signed our petition and we now await the response from the president,” Ngombe told journalists after coming out of Munhumutapa offices.

Without elaborating, the war veterans claimed that there were efforts to sideline and portray them as mercenaries.

“We stand today owed huge arrears in granted life-long Z$2,000 monthly pensions, as against the paltry $234 monthly the State is unashamedly paying us,” the former fighters said, adding they were displeased by their portrayal by the State in “negative national perception to our deserved and lawful entitlements as tantamount to us being responsible for and holding the nation to ransom”.

“We suffered during the war and it is not like we are making demands that are out of this world,” the war veterans said.

Demanding to be paid their outstanding pensions backdated to 1997, they said: “We were promised under Statutory Instrument 180-181 of 1997 to get Z$2,000 each month and this was only paid once in the last 21 years.”

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda was not available for comment.

African News Agency (ANA)