War vets in bizarre degrees demand

Mugove Tafirenyika

VETERANS of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle have bizarrely demanded that the government awards them university degrees for their role in dismantling the racist white minority rule, the Daily News reports.

The demand was made by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya while addressing former freedom fighters in Marondera last weekend.
Mahiya said the war experiences they acquired as well as the lessons and knowledge they imparted to recruits qualified ex-combatants to be degree holders.
“We successfully educated the masses about the revolution and that the land belongs to them. We were told that if we face resistance from the (Ian) Smith regime soldiers, here is the gun, fight them and we succeeded. The third success was on the utilisation of the land, which is where we are today. So, my thinking now is that the government must award us degrees because we went to war and learnt principles of the revolution and we made it. War veterans do not associate themselves with failure politically. We associate ourselves with success and progress,” Mahiya said.
He also called on the government to exempt companies and organisations that help war veterans from paying tax, arguing that they would be doing corporate social responsibility.
“In other countries, they take care of their war veterans. They do that in America where the private sector is responsible for the welfare of war veterans.
“Finance minister Mthuli Ncube must come up with a policy that says if a company capacitates a farm of a war veteran with farming equipment and inputs, it will be exempted from paying tax.
“If a company pays for war veterans’ medical bills, it will be entitled to a tax rebate. We don’t lose anything as a nation, but we would have complied with our Constitution that says we will honour and respect our war veterans.
“Respect can only be a benefit when such things are happening, just like someone buying me (Mahiya) a car and your company gets a rebate,” said Mahiya.
This comes as the government has gazetted the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act, which provides for the establishment of a board to address freedom fighters’ rights, welfare and benefits, among other issues.
According to the Government Gazette published last week, the board’s functions also include providing for the establishment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund, repeal previous laws related to the former freedom fighters such as the War Veterans Act and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act.
1 Comment
  1. Rodgers Madhende says

    While i have no doubts of their contribution to the nation, I hold no grudge with War Veterans, but I think the demand for Degrees is just a sign of insecurity. I am sensing a lot of ENTITLEMENT in such demands. Most of our war veterans are grandfathers by now (40yrs of independence), and still crying for a degree, what for? To look for a job? Shame!
    I stand to be corrected, aren’t our war veterans becoming a liability to the nation they so liberated? Respect is earned not demanded. Their contributions are well acknowledged. They were all given demob funds in the early 80s – many were send to school at government cost, the Z$50,000 given then on during the Mugabe era, they were priority in getting farms during our land reform, free farming equipment & inputs for over a decade, school fees for their endless number of children, pension funds, etc. etc.. What more do they need be given? That is the problem with giving for FREE, it creates dependency.
    Why do you want to push us into questioning your WAR VET register? So many questions will come to mind, please spare us. We all know why the economy is what it is now. We have enough on our plates. 40 years of wasted opportunities and one still dreams that s/he will make it into riches if given more now.
    I rest my case. Be the judge

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