Hwange (Indonsakusa-New Ziana) – Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda has urged war veterans in Hwange to be united and embrace the proposed Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill which is being considered in the legislature.
Addressing Hwange war veterans, Mudenda implored the former fighters to contribute ideas to the Bill before it is enacted into law.
The meeting, at Lwendulu Hall, was intended to familiarise the war veterans with provisions of the Bill and to solicit their input.
The Bill is going through its first reading in Parliament, and seeks to recognise the former fighters and give them rights and other priviledges at law.
“The purpose of this Bill is to provide for rights and benefits of veterans of the liberation struggle and their dependents, the establishment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund, and the establishment of the Veterans of the Board and repeal the Ex-Political Prisoners Act,” Mudenda said.
He said the establishment of the board for war veterans will address issues relating to rights, benefits and general welfare of the former fighters.
But he said this could only be achieved if the war veterans remained united, and desisted from vices such as nepotism and corruption.
War veterans have over years made demands ranging from gratuities in cash to farms, posts in the ruling ZANU (PF) party and free passes at toll gates.
But their rights and priviledges will now be addressed in the proposed Bill, which will make it easy to administer.
“Constitutionally speaking, Section 84 of the Constitution considers the following groups of persons to be veterans of the struggle: a) those that fought in the War of Liberation; b) those who assisted the fighters in the War of Liberation; and c) those that were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle,” said Mudenda.
“The normative framework under review enjoins the State, faithfully doing what is its duties, to promote, protect, respect and fulfill constitutional rights as envisaged in Section 44 of the Constitution, to understand that all the persons described above are entitled, or put simply, have a fundamental right to be recognised and to receive pension and access to basic health care.”