Govt commits to war vets welfare
Harare (New Ziana) – The Second Republic is committed to continuously improve the welfare of veterans of the armed struggle as no amount of compensation will ever equal the sacrifices that they made to liberate the country from colonialism, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.
He said this at the burial of Major-General Godfrey Chanakira (Rtd), a decorated soldier and veteran of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation who died last Thursday.
President Mnangagwa said life during the war was tough and fraught with many dangers and uncertainties.
He said the ever-looming Rhodesian air and ground attacks were a constant threat to life during the war for cadres like Major-General Chanakira who fought and survived many battles.
“The nation acknowledges their supreme sacrifices and no amount of compensation to these gallant men and women will ever equal their contribution to our beloved country, Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Therefore, in honour of their selfless service, the Second Republic will continue to improve the welfare of all our veterans of the armed liberation struggle.”
President Mnangagwa’s declaration comes as the government is conducting a vetting exercise to ascertain a new batch of combat and non-combat war veterans who contributed to the liberation war effort who were left out during the first round of compensation in 1997.
In 1997, the government paid out lump sums to nearly 50 000 war veterans and has continued to provide for their welfare through, among other initiatives, providing medical aid paying school fees for their children.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa described the late Maj-Gen Chanakira as a determined, resilient and committed cadre who gave his all in the fight for the independence of Zimbabwe.
He chronicled his journey in the war, which started when, the late Chanakira and six other “A” Level learners at St Augustine’s High School, absconded to join the war effort in Mozambique in 1975.
The late national hero was among 700 recruits that were selected to proceed to Tanzania destined for Mgagao training camp in 1975, where they were trained by instructors including Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga and the late Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri.
After training, Major-General Chanakira was part of a group that was deployed as reinforcements to the war front.
While serving as a medic, the late national hero nursed 11 cadres who had been poisoned.
“In all his assignments, he demonstrated bravery, ingenuity and loyalty,” said President Mnangagwa.
After independence, Major-General Chanakira served in the army and later in Government in various capacities, until he was appointed permanent secretary in the office of VP Chiwenga.
“The late national hero will be fondly remembered for his humility, simplicity, discipline and hard honest work and commitment to duty. These cardinal virtues must be emulated by both those in the public service and our country’s security architecture.”
As a tribute to the sacrifices that Maj-Gen Chanakira and many others who liberated Zimbabwe made, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should never tire of working for the country’s development.
“Let us continue to shoulder the responsibility to develop, modernise, and industrialise our country. The development philosophy which we have adopted, nyika inovakwa nevene vayo (a country is built by its citizens), is instructive and must embolden us never to tire in building our roads, dams, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure as well as in producing what we eat, what we put on and manufacturing our own technology instruments to develop our country.”