THE Ministry of Finance has released $6 million towards the payment of school fees for war veterans, war collaborators and former political detainees’ children as the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has embarked on a drive to update its database and determine the number of pensioners in the country and their beneficiaries. Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, Collaborators and former Political Detainees Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said the money was meant to address the challenges which children of the heroes and heroines were experiencing.

“The President set up the new ministry and we have already taken shape. I want to assure our members that what we promised to do we will do. Their welfare has been an issue for a long time and with the new team which we have assembled, their problems will be solved,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.

“The Finance Minister has disbursed $6 million to war veterans’ children for school fees. We welcome this move from the minister. He has done his best under these difficult economic conditions. I want also to welcome my Deputy Minister Tshinga Dube who is my old friend. With Tshinga knowing Matabeleland very well and also Bulawayo politics, he will assist me in executing our duties very well.”

He also urged his members to respect his leadership and solve their misunderstandings in a manner that builds and unites the organisation.

“War veterans should accept the leadership which we have endorsed. If there are problems or differences we should solve them amicably. I will refuse to take sides or to choose one war vet over another. They have to be loyal to the party and the President. Whenever, I realise that the party and the President is under threat, I will react and protect both the party and President Mugabe.”

Cde Mutsvangwa could neither deny nor confirm that the exercise was meant to curb bogus members and their respective family members.

“The exercise might mean that there are some undeserving members being paid their pension but that might also not be the case. This exercise is for all pensioners and its a good exercise for every organisation as it helps to keep records,” he said.

Pensioners registering at Milton Junior School in Bulawayo said the process was going on well. Most of the pensioners at the school on Friday were war veterans who were coming from Kezi, Plumtree and Esigodini. The pensioners said they were asked to produce their identity cards and birth certificates for their children under 18 years age.

Meanwhile, the war veterans leadership in Bulawayo yesterday blasted “their elder” Cde George Mlala for claiming that they were not constitutionally elected, before warning him that he risks being recalled for his wayward behaviour.

The executive told Cde Mlala to stop calling himself an elder and indicated that war vets voted for their leaders on 8 August.
Cde Mlala was yesterday quoted in our sister paper, Chronicle, claiming that Cde Mutsvangwa was not responding to a request to dissolve the executive led by Cde Cephas Ncube which he accuses of being linked to former war veterans national leader Mr Jabulani Sibanda.

Speaking at a provincial meeting held at Davis Hall yesterday, national treasurer Cde Robert Ncube, said their visit together with national commissar Cde Francis Nhando was to endorse the leadership which war veterans in Bulawayo voted for last month.

“As the national leadership, we agreed that we were going to have elections countrywide. I was deployed in Mashonaland Central and some national members came here. I am therefore here to endorse this provincial committee which you elected and was not imposed by anyone on you,” he said.

“You were elected on 8 August and you will work until 2018. The executive has also given me the mandate to thank President Mugabe for appointing Cde Tshinga Dube to deputise Cde Mutsvangwa in our ministry as war veterans.”

Cde Mlala could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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