Following the ruling party ZANU PF’s directive that certain senior positions in the party from all level up to the provincial level and government be reserved for war veterans, war collaborators have also demanded recognition, reports the national broadcaster.
The war collaborators say the government should honour them for the contribution and the brave sacrifices they made during the war of liberation, in the ruling party’s history of patronage system. Since the turn of the millennium, war veterans have been regarded with some esteem, to the extent that the then President Robert Mugabe at one time had to appease them from revolting by giving them $50 000 each, at the expense of the economy.
Since then, the country’s economy went on a downward spiral, and the country is yet to recover. Meanwhile, with the recent directives to exalt them, war collaborators now feel being omitted in the roll of honour.
This follows a memo (circular number 3/19) dated 10 April 2019, issued by ZANU-PF political commissar, Rtd Gen Engelbert Rugeje, addressed to ruling party provincial chairpersons, reminding the party to act on the resolution to promote war veterans into positions of authority in both the party and government.
“You will recall that the December 2017 ZANU-PF extraordinary congress endorsed a resolution on the elevation of war veterans of the liberation struggle both in the party and government.
“Pursuant to this resolution, you are by way of this circular directed to ensure that war veterans are incorporated into the main wing party structures from cell to provincial level in view of the restructuring exercise.
“The posts of political commissar or deputy political commissar from cell level to provincial level should preferably be filled by war veterans.
“The posts of secretary for security and deputy secretary for security from cell level to provincial level should be preferably filled by war veterans,” reads part of the memo.
Over the years, war veterans had been instrumental in keeping the status quo in power they had been termed the reserve army, who helped the ruling party to win elections through hook and crook. Former president Robert Mugabe used them to squash opposition party members, using them terror gangs who terrorised perceived opposition party members.
These same foot soldiers led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, were again instrumental in the overthrow of Mugabe in November 2017.
During the peak of factionalism wars that rocked the ruling party, between team General 40 or ‘Young Turks’ and the team Lacoste, the war veterans felt being marginalised. To make matters worse for the veterans, the then First Lady Grace Mugabe had told them to go hang, and they were being systematically side-lined as the G40 made moves to consolidate their position to succeed the then old and frail Mugabe.