Govt scoffs at war vets’ $500k demandsWAR veterans minister Tshinga Dube has scoffed at new demands for gratuities by liberation war veterans, describing them as “unrealistic and insensible”.

President Robert Mugabe has faced calls for his resignation from some war veterans as divisions in the ruling Zanu PF party deepen over his succession.

Back in 1997, Mugabe was forced to award the ex-fighters gratuities of Z$50,000 each after they publicly challenged him.

The unbudgeted payouts led in the so-called “Black Friday” when the Zim-dollar plunged a record 72%, a crash widely regarded as the precursor subsequent economic meltdown the country stills struggles with today.

At their latest meeting which was held last week, the war veterans – who allegedly total 34,000 – among other things demanded $500,000 each for taking part in the war which ushered independence from settler colonial rule in 1980.

Harare East Member of Parliament (MP) Terence Mukupe asked minister Dube, who is also war veteran, about the position of government regarding the welfare of war veterans on Wednesday.

In response, Dube said government would never consider such a policy without consulting parliament.

“The question of $500,000 has never been an issue; never been a policy. This august house is consulted before we work out such amounts.

“I think none of you would vote (for that), anyone in their normal sense, for $500,000 each for war veterans. I don’t see it as anything to take seriously,” said Tshinga.

Tshinga said government is, however, obliged to meet medical health, funeral policy, monthly pay-outs and school fees for the war veterans’ children.

“It is common knowledge that the constitution makes it explicit that the government has a study to make sure that the war veterans get their welfare benefits.

“The treasury has problem in raising funds and the last two terms we have been having shortfalls on school fees but whenever they get it they will pay.

“It’s not that they don’t want but the money is not there,” he said.

Title: Govt scoffs at war vets’ $500k demands

Author: New Zimbabwe

Source: New Zimbabwe

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